NAVADAL 2017: Meet the host and our five expert judges

Akademi is excited to introduce our host for NAVADAL 2017, Shane Shambhu, and our five expert judges: Andrew Hurst, Piali Ray, Pali Chandra, Archita Kumar and Kamala Devam. 

NAVADAL meaning ‘new shoots’ is an opportunity to see exciting new work from the rising stars of South Asian dance. Taking place at the Birmingham Hippodrome on Saturday 15 July as part of U.Dance 2017, four dance groups, six age 11‑16 soloists and eight age 17‑25 soloists will complete for fantastic prizes including trophies, One Dance UK membership and the opportunity to perform at Southbank Centre‘s Alchemy Festival 2018. NAVADAL is run in partnership with One Dance UKISTD and Sampad Arts at U.Dance 2017.

Meet the Panel


Shane Shambhu


Independent Dance Artist and Director

Shane Shambhu is an award-winning artist and Complicite Associate initially trained in bharatanatyam. Shane has an extensive performance career which includes Complicite, Icon Theatre, Menagerie Theatre and Shobana Jeyasingh Dance Company. As an actor, director and choreographer Shane has created works for theatres, galleries, communities and young people continuously challenging perceptions of race, language and cultural identities. Shane regularly lectures and engages in talks and conferences. He is currently touring his new solo production Confessions of a Cockney Temple Dancer.

head and shoulders portrait

Andrew Hurst

Panel Chair

Chief Executive at One Dance UK

Andrew is a former professional dancer and now Chief Executive of dance industry body One Dance UK. Andrew trained at The Royal Ballet School and danced with Basel Ballet, Switzerland; Ballet Gulbenkian, Portugal; Netherlands Dance Theatre II, Holland; Berlin Ballet, Germany; and Rambert Dance Company. While at Rambert he was the Company Deputy for Equity, and began his management career there before taking up the position of General Manager at Phoenix Dance.

Piali Ray OBE

Panel Member

Director at Sampad

Piali Ray OBE is the Founder and Director of Sampad South Asian Arts. Originating from Bengal, India, for the past 25 years Piali has been a driving force in promoting the cultural development of Indian diaspora regionally, nationally and internationally. A performer, teacher and choreographer, she has worked with world-class organisations such as the Birmingham Repertory Theatre, the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, The National Gallery and the National Theatre.

Pali Chandra

Panel Member

Dancer and Dance Educator
Pali Chandra is an internationally acclaimed exponent of the Indian classical dance form of Kathak. Pali has been an educationalist of the art form of Kathak since 1992. Pali was a committee member of ISTD’s (Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing) South Asian Dance Faculty, where she contributed towards the creation of the Kathak syllabus. Pali is a graded member of the Government of India’s cultural representation – ICCR (Indian Council for Cultural Relations).

Archita Kumar

Panel Member

Independent Dance Artist
Archita Kumar began her journey in Kathak in 1993 at London’s Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan under Jayashree Acharya and Abhay Shankar Mishra. She then trained with Urja Thakore and at the Kadamb Institute in India under the guidance of Guru Kumudini Lakhia. She has been associated with Akademi South Asian Dance since 2004.

Kamala Devam

Panel Member

Independent Dance Artist
Kamala Devam trained for twelve years in the classical South Indian dance form of Bharatanatyam in Berkeley with Katherine and K.P. Kunhiraman, and went on to receive her BA in western contemporary forms from San Francisco State University. She’s performed for Akram Khan Company and Shobana Jeyasingh Dance amongst other companies. She formed Kamala Devam Company in January 2016 which has received funding from the Arts Council England. Kamala is a CHOREOGATA (Akademi Commission) Alumni and a Visiting Lecturer at the University of East London.

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