The definitive information resource for South Asian dance in the UK
Photo Credit: Vipul Sangoi

Akademi: UTKARSH Application now open!

Deadline: 2 Nov 2015

Role: CLASSICAL Choreographic Commission

Company: Akademi



UTKARSH is a CLASSICAL INDIAN DANCE choreographic development opportunity that will support two South Asian dance artists from the UK on their choreographic careers. Successful recipients of UTKARSH will be awarded a commission of £2,000 to present a new classical work for performance in April 2015.


UTKARSH is an open application classical choreographic commission for South Asian dancers and choreographers with a professional background in a classical South Asian dance style. This project provides the opportunity for artists to create new classical Indian dance work. Artists will be shortlisted and interviewed by an independent panel.


UTKARSH will set itself apart from other programmes on offer at Akademi by definitively emphasising artistic understanding of the classical Indian dance canon. Applicants to this project will demonstrate clear understanding of the classical elements in the Indian dance form.


UTKARSH is open to all UK-based choreographers whose work fulfils the following criteria.

The proposed work:

  • must be unmistakably within the classical Indian dance idiom i.e. including principles of stance, line, idiom, formality, gesture, appropriateness or suitability etc. (ie. mandala, rekha, dharmi, hasta, auchitya, etc.)
  • will be demonstrably innovative. The creator of the piece must be able to convincingly show to the selection panel how the work is new, original choreography.
  • must be between 18-20 minutes in length.
  • If selected, the work applied with should be the same as the work that is performed.
  • The work has simple technical requirements.
  • Every company member is over 18 years of age.

The applicants:

  • must be a professional choreographer who is not in full time education, unless a postgraduate student.
  • must be a full-time resident in the UK between the application deadline and performance date. The choreographer and every performer must be able to provide proof of their eligibility to work in the UK.
  • a professional background in a classical South Asian dance style
  • a provable track record in choreographing work on themselves or on others
  • an advanced ability and understanding of the heritage and traditions of classical Indian dance
  • the ability to be innovative while working within a classical Indian dance form.
  • a willingness to work with a mentor, explore and further their professional development
  • enthusiasm to advocate for Akademi and the UTKARSH programme.


The selected artists will receive:

  • a commission of £2000 to present a new 20 minute work at a platform to be arranged by Akademi in April 2015
  • Three 1:1 sessions with a member of Akademi’s artist support & development team and project partners where appropriate to help them create a personalised business plan, budget and detailed exit strategy post project.
  • an personal artistic mentor
  • marketing & communications support
  • the opportunity to network with promoters, stakeholders, opinion formers and policy makers.

Akademi aims to offer this UTKARSH opportunity for two different artists on an annual basis.

How to Apply:

Fill out the UTKARSH Application form found on the Akademi website and return it to by 10am, 2 November 2015.

Nina Head, Dance Development Officer is available to provide advice and guidance on applications up until the 23 October 2015.

Akademi in partnership with Gem Arts, Sampad, Kadam, CICD, South East Dance, Yorkshire Dance, and Dance Umbrella.

Supported by Nehru Centre.

Funded by Arts Council England and Esmee Fairbairn Foundation.