Frame by Frame, the Bollywood dance Symposium took place at the historic Royal Opera House in Covent Garden, London. Suman Buchar, a well known arts marketeer invited me to cover the event.
Akademi (formerly known as Academy of Indian Dance) is a pioneering organisation that works to encourage excellence in the practice of South Asian dance in Britain. Founded in 1979, Akademi aims to place South Asian dance as an important force within British art, society and education.
It’s director, Mira Kaushik OBE, is a well known figure, known for her directing of innovative dance spectacles and her devotion to propagating Asian arts in London. They have performed many brilliant collaborative projects, that juxtapose South Asian dance with mainstream dance in Britain. It was indeed an event filled with ladies like Mira, who I have always held in high esteem, as they are all inspirations for the next generation of creative Asians in Britain and have strived hard to find a place for Asian arts in England. With Bollywood cinema fusing with the mainstream in the UK and Akademi celebrating it’s 30th anniversary, this symposium was very well timed.
The importance of dance and the emergence of numerous Bollywood style dance classes in the UK means that a portion of the Classical dance from old movies remains in modern choreography and that the importance of dance in stage and theatre remains intact within musicals, especially those with Asian themes. From Bharathanatyam to Hip Hop and street dancing, Bollywood movie songs incorporate a variety of styles within a 6 minute song and dance number.
The Frame by Frame event was a joy to be present at. Featuring many eminent figures from the academic side of Asian arts, like Gurinder Chadha (OBE), Prof. Lord Desai, Prof. Rachel Dwyer, Nasreen Munni Kabir, Keith Khan, Nina Nannar, Dr. Sangita Shresthova, Parminder Vir (OBE) and peppered with some interesting live performances, the audience remained rapt throughout.
Personal highlights were the tΓͺte-Γ -tΓͺte between Parminder Vir and Gurinder Chadha, Nasreen Munni Kabir’s fantastic look into the uniqueness of music and dance within Bollywood films and Dr Rachel Dwyer’s panel discussion, featuring the likes of Keith Khan of Moti Roti. Dancers like Seema Payal, Payal Patel and Karan Pangali also showed their dance skills to the appreciative audience.
“Dancing in all its forms cannot be excluded from the curriculum of all noble education; dancing with the feet, with ideas, with words, and, need I add that one must also be able to dance with the pen?” Friedrich Nietzsche
Photographs: RJ Fernandez and Renata McDonnell