British Asian dance looks to the future

Internationally-acclaimed dancer/choreographers Akram Khan and Shobana Jeyasingh to deliver keynote speeches.

Birmingham will play host to a ground-breaking event dedicated to British Asian dance this May, as delegates from around the world join Navadisha 2016.

Navadisha 2016 will pose crucial questions about British Asian dance today, helping to steer and secure its future. The event will celebrate breakthrough achievements and exciting new developments in the sector during the past 15 years, uncovering models of excellence and new ways of working while stimulating debate about its current place within the UK’s cultural landscape and the nature of its audiences.

The event is taking place during International Dance Festival Birmingham and as part of its partnership with Navadisha, the Festival has specially programmed a weekend of South Asian dance by international artists.

Navadisha’s keynote speeches will be delivered by award-winning dancer/choreographer Akram Khan, one of the dance world’s most respected figures whose current production Until the Lions premiered in London recently to widespread acclaim and internationally-celebrated dancer/choreographer Shobana Jeyasingh, whose dynamic and highly-individual work spans more than 25 years.

The inspiration for Navadisha 2016 comes from Sampad Arts’ seminal conference Navadisha 2000, which helped to blaze a trail for a new generation of dancers and practitioners, sparking pivotal insights and actions across a variety of fronts, from artistic to organisational and political to structural.

The event’s new incarnation, produced by New Dimensions Arts Management in partnership with International Dance Festival Birmingham, will bring things up to date, by examining the current shape of the sector and charting its vision for future directions. Issues around training & development and opportunities for choreographers, which have been recent hot topics, will also be explored.

Navadisha producer and Director of New Dimensions Arts Management, Anita Srivastava says: “It’s heartening that British Asian dance has evolved and progressed during the past 15 years as reflected by the rise and prominence of a thrilling current generation of dancers including Sonia Sabri, Aakash Odedra and Seeta Patel. However, it’s time to stock take and look at issues that will impact the future direction of the sector, including reaching out to wider audiences, funding, access routes and artistic excellence.”

Piali Ray OBE, Director of Sampad South Asian Arts adds: “I’m genuinely curious to find out how British Asian dance will position and distinguish itself in a shape-shifting international arena that is continuously throwing out questions about cultural identity, cultural appropriation and cultural consumption.”

For full details of the conference programme, speakers, panellists and how you can register, visit