Navadisha was a trailblazing summit dedicated to British Asian dance, produced by New Dimensions Arts Management in partnership with Sampad.
The UK hosted a high-profile summit dedicated to British Asian dance in May 2016, as one of the largest gatherings of artists, organisations, pundits, policymakers, funders and fans of dance from around the world gathered under one roof for Navadisha 2016.
Produced by New Dimensions Arts Management in partnership with Sampad, Navadisha 2016 (meaning ‘new directions’ in Sanskrit) posed crucial questions designed to stimulate, steer and secure the future of British Asian dance as part of the UK’s ever growing dance landscape.
It also celebrated many of the breakthrough achievements and exciting developments in and around the sector during the fifteen years since Sampad’s seminal conference Navadisha 2000, which helped to blaze a trail for a new generation of dancers and practitioners, sparking pivotal insights and actions across a variety of fronts, from artistic to organisational and political to structural.
The event coincided with the 40th anniversary of Naseem Khan’s ground-breaking report, The Arts Britain Ignores, touching on the milestone to fire up fresh debates about the state and status of British Asian dance in the UK’s cultural cosmos, including the changing nature of its dance audiences.
The three day programme covered a range of topics – from artist development to international collaboration, and contemporary factors that were shaping South Asian dance creation and distribution. It also highlighted models of excellence and innovation, and explored new ways of working.
Delegates benefited from insights into the policy positions and thinking of strategic organisations that will influence the direction for South Asian dance over the next decade, including Arts Council England, British Council and Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR).
Alongside a stellar list of industry leaders who shared their knowledge and wisdom through panel discussions and debates, the event featured showcases, performances, a market place for pitching opportunities to potential promoters and investors and networking opportunities.
Navadisha 2016 attracted a line-up of 65 speakers, presenters and panellists from 25 cities in 12 countries and more than 150 registered delegates. It was a rare and valuable opportunity for dance practitioners, teachers, students, academics, agencies, programmers, venues, promoters, investors and policymakers across the arts sector.
The keynote speakers were Akram Khan MBE, Shobana Jeyasingh MBE and Mavin Khoo – all internationally-acclaimed performers and choreographers, and instigators of brilliant new dynamics in British dance.
The conference also celebrated Naseem Khan for her historic contribution to the UK cultural agenda and policy, while honouring dance gurus Pratap Pawar, Nahid Siddiqui and Pushkala Gopal, who have inspired and influenced generations of students, dancers and teachers and helped to shape the story of British Asian dance.
As an additional bonus, as part of its association with Navadisha 2016, International Dance Festival Birmingham (IDFB 2016) programmed a special weekend of South Asian dance by international artists.
Navadisha 2016 took place from Friday 20 – Sunday 22 May 2016 at Midlands Arts Centre in Birmingham. In the run up to the conference, there was a special event London’s Nehru Centre offering an overview of the diversity, relevance and exciting new developments in British Asian dance. The preview featured performances of Bharatanatyam, Kathak and contemporary work by rising artists and established performers along with Q&As with some of the speakers at the main conference.
Navadisha 2016 culminated with a celebratory finale show, Navadisha Celebrates, featuring many of the distinctive South Asian dance styles highlighted during the conference, including rarely seen forms such Mohiniyattam and Odissi as well as high-energy Bollywood.