#AkademiSupported | South Asian Dance in Britain: Decentring India and Hinducentrism, 19 Jan 2024

Sisekpa Tangnam festival celebrated by the indigenous Yakthung/Limbu community in Maidstone (Kent), UK, July 2022. Photo credit: Rohini Rai

January 19, 2024
2-4pm (BST)

About SADE

“South Asian Dance Equity (SADE): The Arts That British South Asian Dance Ignores” network is funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) Dance Research Matters grant scheme. The network will examine systemic inequities within British South Asian dance, focusing on five key areas of minoritisations:

  • the dominance of Indian/Hindu dance forms and artists;
  • LGBTQI+ artists;
  • caste-oppressed artists;
  • disabled artists; and
  • folk and Adivasi (indigenous) arts and artists.

Working with five South Asian arts organisations (Akademi, Baithak, Balbir Singh Dance Company, Nupur Arts, and Sampad) and The Place Theatre as project partners, the network aims to build a more equitable dance sector through exchanges between artists and scholars from South Asia and the UK.

The network is led by Prarthana Purkayastha (Royal Holloway University of London), Royona Mitra (Brunel University London), and Anusha Kedhar (University of California, Riverside).

Zoom webinar

*Free and open to the public.
Register in advance for this webinar on: https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_LFfl9MwtTkusvPvobkYysA

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.

The project launch will introduce the Arts and Humanities Research Council  (AHRC) funded SADE network, including the research team, Steering Committee and Project Partners. This will be followed by brief provocations from artists and scholars on the dominance of India and Hinduism in South Asian studies discourse and dance. The session aims to both decentre India from within, by conceptualising and foregrounding dance and cultures from marginalised areas in India, such as the Himalayan region; and decentre India from without, by focusing on dance in other South Asian countries, including Bangladesh and Pakistan. 


Feriyal Amal Aslam – Independent dance scholar-artist and activist

Aslam is a dance scholar-artist, peace-through-arts activist and social cultural anthropologist. Trained as Pakistan’s first dance history scholar, courtesy Fulbright at UCLA’s Department of World Arts and Cultures/Dance, she built on her dance training under maestro Indu Mitha and is currently teaching in a pioneering integrated arts program in Bandung, Indonesia. 

Sandhaya Gurung – Independent multidisciplinary artist 

Sandhaya Gurung is a multidisciplinary artist and recent graduate from Goldsmiths, University of London. Her practice specializes in traditional Nepali dance forms to decolonize the art of somatics. Born into a family of Gurkhas settled into the UK, she explores the hybridity in the Nepali-British identity as a second generation immigrant.

Amina Khayyam – Artistic Director, Amina Khayyam Dance Company

Critically acclaimed Kathak performer and choreographer, Amina is artistic director of AKDC with whom she has made over a dozen productions such as the award-winning BIRD. She trained in the UK with Alpana Sengupta and Sushmita Ghosh (at The Bhavan), and has performed extensively nationally and internationally before establishing her own company.

Rohini Rai – Lecturer in the Sociology of Race, Brunel University London

Rai is a sociologist of race, migration and racism and is the Lecturer in Sociology of Race at Brunel University London. Her areas of research include racialization and racism in relation to Northeast India and Eastern Himalayan borderlands of Asia. Her current project, funded by the British Academy and partnered with the Royal Geographical Society- with the Institute of British Geographers (RGS-IBG), engages with the UK-based indigenous Himalayan diaspora communities from Nepal and Northeast India through the method of ‘storytelling through dancing’.

More information:

SADE website
SADE Instagram
Contact on email

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