The Associate Artists scheme was a new programme, aimed at those artists who have a substantial record of developing work or teaching in the field of South Asian dance in the UK. It was designed to provide Associate Artists with strategic, administrative and developmental support to help them devise and carry out a personal career plan during their one-year tenure.
As ambassadors for Akademi, Associate Artists also used their experience and dance training to help amateur and emerging dancers to explore the links between South Asian dance and contemporary dance forms. Akademi gave each Associate Artist a bursary for career development and research.
The six Associate Artists for 2008-2009 were:
Nilima Devi (Leicester)
A Kathak dancer, choreographer, teacher and Artistic Director of the Centre for Indian Classical Dance.
Pushkala Gopal (Ilford)
A Karnatic vocalist and Bharathanatyam dancer and chorographer who lectures and teaches extensively.
Nina Rajarani (Harrow)
A Bharatanatyam dancer and choreographer, who received the 2006 Place Prize, Europe’s largest choreographic competition.
Sonia Sabri (Birmingham)
A Kathak dancer and artistic director of the Sonia Sabri Company and newly formed youth dance company, Kathakaars.
Urja Desai Thakore (Milton Keynes)
A Kathak dancer and artistic director of Pagrav Dance.
Seeta Patel (Haringey)
A Bharatanatyam dancer, choreographer and teacher who has performed throughout the UK, Europe and North America.