A development initiative for South Asian Dance in the North West

Orange A brief company profile of Chaturangan


Until recently the development of South Asian dance in the North West region was happening sporadically and often in isolation. The majority of, although not all, productions were taking place in the smaller community context. Most of the time productions were presented at events that were more social than related to the professional arts scene.

Whilst the region has had individual artists of national recognition the majority of the local dance artists were not actively engaged with the developments of South Asian Dance at a national level. As a result artists from this region were not fully represented, their voices not heard and their presence not celebrate

Over recent years, following the success of a national initiative that led to the start of Chaturangan, we have moved a long way towards addressing some of the issues. Although a small organisation Chaturangan has played a strategically important role. It is now time to focus so that our vision is apparent and secure foundations are laid for its realisation.

The business plan ‘Beyond Performance’ has three main sections: Artistic Programme, Organisational Development (which includes the professional development of the officers) and Finance


Chaturangan (meaning four courtyards) was established as an unincorporated association in 2002 following the first Chaturang initiative. The North West region has made many contributions to the developments of South Asian dance in Britain. The region has been favoured with a number of fine classical and contemporary dancers. Several artists from the region were in the forefront of the movement that led to setting up the national South Asian dance agency, ADiTi.

The Arts Council initiative, Chaturang, began to address this by consolidating work done so far to establish to a collective identity for South Asian dance in the region. Chaturangan is continuing to further this objective through various initiatives making South Asian dance more visible in the mainstream.

Track Record

The main success of Chaturangan was to present a collective of the work of regional South Asian artists in mainstream venues, thereby raising the status and recognition of their work.

Through a successful project Chaturangan

  • created an excellent resource of materials ideal for publicity, which was displayed at the Decibel event;
  • secured a regular place in Merseyside’s own dance festival, LEAP;
  • created excellent new choreography for artists in the region, such as Dheeralalit, Ardha Nari Swar and Til Another; and
  • developed a strong relationship with Bluecoat and MDI on Merseyside, and Contact, Octagon, and DiGM in Greater Manchester.

The region

Historically, the North West has shown a strong commitment to dance in education and community settings, with work taking place in schools, day centres, high security hospitals, temples and art galleries. However, much of this work has happened in isolation and because of this lost its impact.

There are several organisations that work with South Asian dance artists at different levels. These include: the partners of Dance North West, Indian Associations, Milap individual regional artists, companies, venues and organisations. Although the training development opportunities of Dance North West is open to all artists in the region they are not specifically targeting the South Asian dance artist. Other organisations are providing performance opportunities but do not address the training and support needs of individual artists.

In contrast, Chaturangan is focused on creating schemes and training programmes that support the development needs of professional South Asian dance artists in the region. Our work has been and continues to be to develop links and broker partnerships with various organisations to platform to present and showcase primarily the work of local and regional artists. We encourage and support small initiatives of choreographic work that provides ad enables artists to perform in small-scale venues and build confidence during their development. Furthermore we have enabled and maintained dialogue between artists between this region’s artists and those from other regions to provide an awareness of the national dance scene.

Chaturangan’s work has been concentrated in Merseyside and Greater Manchester. Greater Manchester has, in recent years, seen an insurgence of investment and greater opportunity. The successful bid of Liverpool’s Capital of Culture will bring new opportunities for development.

[Photos by Simon Richardson]




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Website at Chaturangan.co.uk
Page last updated 04-Jan-2016 - Comments on the website welcome by Eric Foxley at the Dunkirk Arts Centre
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