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  • Our mission

    Our mission is to inspire audiences and change lives by creating and nurturing excellence in classical, contemporary, popular and participatory South Asian dance.


    About Akademi

    Founded in 1979 by the legendary Tara Rajkumar, Akademi has been taking South Asian dance to unexpected places ever since. In that time, we have redefined the parameters of the art form itself. We have inspired audiences, developed artists and changed lives. Our passion burns brighter than ever.

    We are dynamic and future facing. We connect South Asian dance with the wider contemporary arts sector. We engage with social, political and cultural agendas to achieve real impact. We embrace the plurality of classical, contemporary and commercial South Asian dance styles.

    Rooted in our local community but active across the UK, we have a global perspective with worldwide connections. Our pioneering work contributes significantly to Britain’s international reputation for innovation in South Asian dance.

    Our work encompasses:

    Live performance

    We actively push the boundaries of where dance can appear. We are passionate about performing in unexpected settings. Our productions embrace and are inspired by extraordinary architecture and public spaces. We also create bespoke performances for private clients.

    Artist development

    We support artists to realise their potential. We help develop professional performers, choreographers and cultural leaders. We provide unique opportunities to create and share work, along with access to mentors, advice and networks.

    Education and Community

    We work with children and young people across London. We inspire creativity, encourage academic achievement and broaden aspirations. Our work improves the health and wellbeing of older adults through dance and movement workshops. We deliver participatory projects in hospitals, care homes and all kinds of community settings.


    Creative Learning

    We believe passionately that South Asian dance can engage and inspire people of all ages and backgrounds.

    Akademi’s Education and Community programme takes dance and movement activities to children, young people and older adults across London.

    We work with partners and our creative practitioners to devise meaningful interventions – from one-off themed workshops to sustained residencies.

    Akademi’s flexible approach means there is something for everyone. What we offer:

    • Sessions to address National Curriculum dance targets – such as balance, agility and control.
    • Dance for teaching Maths, Science, and English.
    • After school sessions.
    • Create performances with pupils.
    • Perform at a school assembly or one-off events.
    • Programmes around exciting cultural festivals such as Holi Colour Festival, Indian Summer, and Diwali.
    • Provide Dhol Drummers, South Asian Dance style dancers, Traditional Storytellers, and more.

    All activities have positive benefits for those involved, including:

    • High quality arts intervention
    • Furthered understanding of other cultures
    • Increased physical activity
    • Reduced stress levels

    If you’re interested in booking a workshop, residency or collaborating with Akademi in some other way, contact Amelia Hart, Education and Community Officer.


    Current Community Projects


    Akademi presents two performances by Indian Classical dance artists in the atrium of Chelsea and Westminster Hospitalevery third Thursday of the month from 13.00 – 13.45 pm as part of CW+ Lunchtime Concerts. The performance is free, and open to members of the public, staff, and patients. After the performance, the artists complete ward rounds, performing and delivering participatory work with patients.

    CW+, Chelsea and Westminster Health Charity, has commissioned Akademi to present these performances. Also streamed live on the hospital radio.


    Breathe Arts Health Research is a social enterprise company based in London and founded by Yvonne Farquharson. A spin-out organisation from Guy’s and St Thomas’ Charity, Breathe has been contracted to deliver a diverse performing arts and health programme across Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust.

    This Diwali Akademi presents four dancers for Breathe at St Thomas Hospital. The four dancers will perform a narrative performance of the celebration of Diwali. This performance is open to the public, members of staff, and patients.


    Dance Well

    Dance Well is Akademi’s 3-year community participation project funded by the National Lottery through the Big Lottery Fund.

    Dance Well provides regular opportunities for adults to attend dance and movement sessions, partnering with charity organisations, care homes, day centres and hospitals, as well as community learning and education providers.

    The project focuses on three main areas:

    • Those living with dementia
    • Older adults with little physical activity and who may be isolated in the community
    • Those living with poor long term heart and lung health.

    Dance Well’s Aims:

    • To encourage older adults to participate in moderate physical activity of 150 minutes per week.
    • To promote greater social engagement and well-being amongst older adults.
    • To increase health and fitness of older adults.
    • To provide opportunities for those living with dementia to engage with creative and cultural material.
    • To provide high quality resources for dance artists working within arts and health.
    • To advocate for greater investment in dance for health in the wider community.

    If you are interested in being involved, would like to learn more about our work, or know of older adults in need of physical activity, please contact us.


    Currently running:

    What: 8 South Asian dance/Odissi dance/Creative Movement workshops for older adults (all mobilities are welcome, dementia-friendly workshops)

    Who: Maryam Shakiba, London based Odissi Indian classical dancer and Yoga practitioner

    Where: Kentish Town Community Centre, 17 Busby Place, London NW5 2SP

    When: Every Friday from 19th May to 7th July, from 11am to 12pm

    Cost: FREE

    How to get there: Buses – C2, 134, 214, 393, 390, 253, 29; Nearest Overground – Kentish Town West; Nearest Tube Stationa – Kentish Town