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Akademi at 40

Posted on May 21, 2019

This year sees South Asian dance organisation Akademi marking its 40th anniversary with a series of celebratory events running until April 2020. The anniversary celebrations mark the final year of the directorship of Mira Kaushik.

Akademi embraces South Asian dance in all its forms – classical, contemporary, commercial and social – commissioning, creating and supporting it. Its work over the past 40 years is an expression of the UK’s increasingly diverse society.

Founded by Tara Rajkumar, Akademi’s patrons and trustees have included Pandit Ravi Shankar, Dame Alicia Markova, Anish Kapoor and Anoushka Shankar. The company’s year of celebratory events includes performances, talks, workshops and competitions in some of the capital’s landmark venues.

November 2019 sees Kaushik’s departure after being at the helm for more than 30 years, seeing it through the many changes in the cultural and political landscape in that time.

Photographs by: (1) Vipul Sangoi, (2-3) Richard Haughton, (4-5) Simon Richardson, (6-7) Peter Schiazza.

Kaushik says: “I have had three decades of illuminating adventures in the world of dance in the UK. My journey from being a cultural ambassador of South Asia to being at a place where South Asian dance is seen as an intrinsic and valued part of the British creative DNA is my greatest achievement.

“I am thrilled to have been a conduit for the UK’s thriving community of South Asian dancers, the majority of whom are based in London. There is still exciting work to do, which will further professionalise the sector and I look forward to the next generation of leadership picking up the baton during this year’s celebratory anniversary programme.”

For details on the celebratory programme this year, go to akademi.co.uk.

Main image: Founder of Akademi, Tara Rajkumar, in 1979. Photograph courtesy of Akademi

Nicola Rayner was editor of Dance Today from 2010 to 2015. She has written for a number of publications including The Guardian, The Independent and Time Out Buenos Aires, where she cut her teeth as a dance journalist working on the tango section. Today she continues to dance everything from ballroom to breakdance, with varying degrees of success. Her debut novel, The Girl Before You, is out now as an ebook and available on Amazon, with the paperback following on August 22.

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