June 25, 2019 @ 6:45 pm – 8:30 pm
Asia House
63 New Cavendish St
Marylebone, London W1G 7LP
£10/8 [Free for students]

Join prominent visiting artist Dr Swarnamalya Ganesh and Chitra Sundaram as they explore Sadir the historic precursor to the classical Indian dance style of Bharatanatyam.

In a special curation by Chitra Sundaram, Akademi launches the first of its dance dialogue series with the London debut of Dr Swarnamalya Ganesh. The noted Bharatanatyam artist and actor will be joined by Chitra, a prominent figure in the UK dance community. Together they will explore the narratives, the women, and the repertoire of ‘Sadir Āttam’: the command performance of the 17th – early 20th century that was presented in darbars and salons for royalty, aristocracy and officers of The Raj.

This event presents the her-story of the Sadir dancer; her repertoire and her reputation as an articulate, charming and sophisticated performer. Swarnamalya will share the experiences of seeking out hereditary dancers; piecing together closely guarded anecdotes and repertoire pieces. Nearly eighty-five years after Sadir disappearing into Bharatanatyam, we begin to embrace both, joining the discourse of multiple histories. The discussion and demonstration will both trace and move beyond the narratives of erasure and caste politics behind present-day Bharatanatyam. The evening will include a 10 minute Q&A.

Produced by Akademi with support from Arts Council England and Asia House.

Who’s involved

Dr Swarnamalya Ganesh is a trained Bharatanatyam dancer, an Indian actress and TV anchor. Over the years, she has anchored several shows, acted in films across various languages and performed on many stages all over the world. She has a Masters in Bharatanatyam and PhD in Dance History from Madras University.

Chitra Sundaram is a dance/theatre choreographer, Bharatanatyam performer, mentor and educator. Her research and teaching interests include the problems and potential of classical forms in cross-cultural and intergenerational transmission of narratives. Chitra was the trustee of Akademi, and currently sits on the board of the Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing. Chitra is an Associate Lecturer in Theatre &Performance at Goldsmiths College, and a Fellow of the Royal Society of the Arts.

Asia House is the Centre of Expertise on Asia. They drive political and economic engagement between Europe and Asia through their programme of events, featuring thought leaders and opinion formers; through their policy and advisory services; and through their research activity. They also create greater cultural understanding between Europe and Asia through our Arts and Learning programme. Asia House was founded in 1996 by the former diplomat Sir Peter Wakefield.

Celebrating 40 inspiring years.

In 2019, Akademi celebrates 40 years of imagining, inspiring, connecting and creating with an exciting programme of events and opportunities.