June 28, 2019 @ 7:30 pm – 9:30 pm
Storey's Field Centre, Cambridge
Eddington Avenue
Cambridge CB3 1AA

Dances from the Sadir repertoire of 17th – 20th Century India by Dr Swarnamalya Ganesh, introduced and presented by Dr Avanthi Meduri.

Akademi, in collaboration with SAMA Arts, presents a performance showcasing unique selections from the court and salon Sadir dance repertoire from British India, performed by the captivating dancer, actor, and noted scholar Dr Swarnamalya Ganesh.

Sadir or the invitational performances of the 17th to early 20th century Southern India, were given by highly trained, hereditary, professional dancers, and their musician troupes in the royal durbars and sumptuous salons of rajahs, nawabs and other wealthy sponsors, often including among their guests, the officers of The Raj or British India.

Using signature dances of the centuries-old repertoire, particular music forms and instruments, intricate gestures and clever verses, Swarnamalya will trace the journey of Sadir across several centuries, cultures and regions in a Salon-style performance. Drawing from rare and hard-to-obtain memoirs, the evening will reveal the rich tapestry of a Sadir dancer’s life beyond the courts, showcasing several celebrated dancers of those eras and the pieces they performed.

Urdu thumri, Parsi-Tamil and Telugu-English javali-s, topped with Carnatic Indian adaptations of Celtic tunes: witness an array of dance pieces that offer unexpected combinations of languages, literatures, musical styles and theatrical traditions, that formed an integral part of multicultural, cosmopolitan Sadir.

Once denied to them, Bharatanatyam dancers are eager to quarry this exciting goldmine of their heritage, and Dr Swarnamalya, is one of the foremost amongst Bharatanatyam practitioners making this possible to dancers and audiences with her performances and scholarship.

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.

Sama Arts Network is one of the UK’s oldest and most influential arts organisations in the genre of traditional and contemporary South Asian arts. Established in 1977, Sama has curated more than 1,000 events with acclaimed artists from the UK and other parts of the world. They have included tours, concerts, festivals, educational talks, workshops, seminars, lecture-demos, film screenings, and visual and performing arts. 

Dr. Avanthi Meduri is a scholar/dancer/actress/playwright/curator and arts administrator. She is internationally recognized as the founder of postcolonial devadasi dance studies in India/US and UK. She is a Reader at University of Roehampton, London and ex-convenor of South Asian Dance Studies at University of Roehampton, London.

Celebrating 40 inspiring years.

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