Money-Advice-Trust

MY JOURNEY with Akademi began 30 years ago when it was Academy of Indian Dance. In
this period a careerist director in the role would have changed jobs at least six times.

The reason I remain Akademi’s director to date lies with Akademi itself: an exceptional and evolving artistic agenda, team of artists, creative staff and our board. The company, like a flowing river, has coursed through many exciting and uncharted territories and never allowed itself to stagnate in still muddied waters.

In fact, Akademi itself has evolved six times since I joined giving me the experience of six jobs.

Founded by Tara Rajkumar in 1979, Akademi began as a platform for classical Indian dancers in London. The objective was to work to increase appreciation and enhance the practice of South Asian dance within the contemporary artistic, social and educational context of the UK.

Akademi has transformed and continuously evolved since. We started producing classical
dance dramas in the 1980s. The 1990s saw us setting up an education and community department, laying out the Indian dance faculty of the Imperial Society of Teachers of Dance (ISTD), and setting up a BA Hons for South Asian Dance at the Contemporary Dance Trust.

In the 2000s we created large scale and innovative outdoor arts productions, supported artists’ development in new ways, and changed young lives through learning and skills council projects. In recent years, we have taken dance to further unconventional spaces, received high-profile commissions and returned to the proscenium stage with our first international tour.

Akademi’s evolving eras have empowered different generations of artists to claim ownership of Akademi’s work. I feel privileged in having made this journey collectively, with a wonderful team of professional individuals.

I continue to be driven and inspired by the process of turning an artistic vision into a reality. I am passionate about delivering projects that enhance the life of the British public and impact professional experiences of the dancers.

Akademi’s work responds to the constantly evolving artistic, political and social world we
live in, creating relevant public dialogues to push boundaries while maintaining full integrity and authenticity. My tools are located in the world of dance, but the end results have always been relevant to the context in which I have worked as a first-generation immigrant in this country.

Akademi is a British organisation that has strived for nearly 40 years to make classical Indian dance intrinsic to British creative DNA. I believe a combined strategic approach by us and our compeers across the UK has achieved that.

Akademi’s ambition and prime role is to inspire audiences and change lives by creating and
nurturing excellence in classical, contemporary, popular and participatory Indian dance. Its current work is created for a range of diverse global audiences with varied demographics, aiming to augment awareness and appreciation of Indian dance in a contemporary British setting.

Over three decades, I have seen Akademi flourish and I have grown with it as an individual. Now I excitedly look forward to leading this organisation into its 40th year, celebrating collective achievements of the sector.

Mira Kaushik OBE is the director of Akademi. Visit www.akademi.co.uk for more information.