The UK’s well-known dance institute, Arunima Kumar Dance Company (AKDC), presents the largest inclusive inter-generational festival of Kuchipudi dance form in the country. Pushing the boundaries of this ancient Indian Dance form, the International Kuchipudi Festival 2022, 'Rang', will be held in London this year at the end of November.
As part of India@75, AKDC will showcase 100 artists from the age of 4-85 years across the world. Commissioned work Adrysa by elderly contemporary dance artists from Counterpoint Dance led by Simona Scotto, the Natarang Group from Poland, AKDC young dancers from across Britain, including bursary artists and renowned live musicians, are to take part in the festival. This mega event will be attended by several guests from the Indian high commission, Nehru Centre, London, members of Parliament, the House of Lords and the diaspora community.
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As the festival returns after two years of pandemic challenges, it is expected to be at a much grand scale creating another landmark event in the cultural history of Britain, on November 25, at the Bhavan, London.
AKDC is one of Britain's most renowned, award-winning Kuchipudi institutions. Founded by celebrated dancer and choreographer of worldwide fame, Arunima Kumar, it is Britain's largest Kuchipudi institution, with seven centres in 5 countries.
"We hope to inspire audiences to preserve this rich heritage that is powerful, relevant, timeless and beyond boundaries.
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"We aim to create cutting-edge Indian artistic ventures in mainstream events and venues. During the pandemic, we delivered over 500 online sessions engaging over 100,000 digital audiences through Project 'Ektara-Together We Can', commissioned by the Arts Council, which had participants from all over the world and from diverse age groups and abilities to keep communities active and healthy," said Kumar.
She is the recipient of many prestigious awards, including the Ustad Bismillah Khan Yuva Puraskar, FICCI FLO award, Global Icon award, She Inspires award, Asian Woman of Achievement, and many others. She has also been empanelled artist of ICCR, Ministry of External Affairs.
Kumar was invited to choreograph and present Jyotirmay Bharat for the Indian Prime Minister, Narendra Modi's visit to the UK and King Charles III at Buckingham Palace. For Her Majesty the Queen's Platinum Jubilee, and the Commonwealth Games 2022, she led one of the world's most prominent and inclusive mass dance projects.
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The dancer-choreographer is well embedded in the community and undertakes several outreach projects, including Chelsea hospitals, Tihar women's prison in India, Britain's care homes, schools and disability centres. She has created productions on critical issues like domestic violence and learning disabilities. Kumar has also collaborated with the world's largest blind orchestra, Inner Vision Orchestra; choreographed pieces with Step Change Studio involving dancers on wheelchairs, and the Light it Up with Open age and Age UK dancers, with participants aged 69-109 years.
*Info: Arunima Kumar Dance Company