Six commissions that explored interesting and innovative ways of reaching audiences during lockdown
In response to the shutdown of all live performance in 2020, we asked artists to submit proposals for work with South Asian dance at its core which explored interesting and innovative ways in which audiences could continue to enjoy this art form in a situation where communities could not come together to experience dance in the same way.
The recipients of our Seed Commissions in 2020 took their project ideas in a number of different directions, with two of the films eventually being featured in Akademi’s first ever online dance-film festival in early 2021. Discover the recipients and the themes they explored below.
Vriksham: The Rite of Trees
In this piece, I ask ‘what happens when we engage with trees as living beings that have an identity and personal history? How does our experience of nature change? How can I relate to trees as my dance partners who have a unique way of being, idiosyncratic resistances and affordances?…
Kirsten Newell & Oxana Banshikova
The Seed Commission funding from Akademi and Creative Scotland was the beginning of our journey with MaMa. Starting out as a Dance on Screen work, it developed into a 45-minute production which toured throughout Scotland during the summer of 2022. We have developed new relationships with various programmers since the tour finished…
Photo: Brian Hartley
Karuna (करुणा in Devanāgari) is a dance response to people encountering chronic pain. Compassion to all, to ourselves and to others, in pain and suffering. To listen and be present for ourselves and each other, to celebrate who we are, to connect to all frailties and strengths…
Virtual Ghost lets you experience a digital projection injection of South Asian movement into the diaspora of local Leicester, which promises to amaze you with a never seen before experience of your space. Created by Kesha Raithatha & InkMilk – enduring collaborators who have now seized the challenge of turning unconventional and ignored public spaces into a stage by creating site specific work in a virtual space.
Virtual Ghost has been screened at several events including Akademi Dance Film Festival 2021 and An Indian Summer Festival 2020.
Making dance work accessible to blind and partially sighted audiences
Thanks to Akademi’s Seed Commission and with help from VocalEyes, I have had the opportunity to explore ways to make dance work rooted in kathak accessible to blind and partially sighted audiences. As we all adapt during these challenging times, I, like many have been thinking about all those things we miss about live dance performances; the physical connection to bodies and objects in the performance space, experiencing the physicality of performers’ bodies, extension of limbs relative to space, details in quality of movement, details in makeup and costume…
Magical Honey – children’s dance theatre for children and families
Sanskruti Dance received a seed commission from Akademi in 2020 to work on the R&D of a new children’s dance piece with Bharatanatyam, magic, storytelling, and music. Initially, we worked with young Bharatanatyam performers to workshop movement ideas along with Suba as our choreography mentor. After a successful sharing of the initial choreography, the company’s artistic director Krishna, in partnership with DanceEast and Akademi, received funding from Arts Council England to develop the work in 2021 at DanceEast and in Cambridge…
Magical Honey at Dance East 2021, photo: Simon Richardson