Sanjeevini Dutta receives an MBE
We are delighted that Sanjeevini Dutta, Kadam Director and Editor of Pulse, has been awarded an MBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours 2022. Those who put her name forward and those who work with her appreciate her creativity, approachability and the sheer love of the dance forms and music that inspires her dedication in these roles.
Here is some of the background to the work she has been doing in the field of South Asian dance and music in the UK since the 1990s – teaching, supporting young dancers and musicians, publishing and creating productions:
Kadam and Pulse
Kadam Dance and Music was set up in Bedford in 1995 as part of the Arts Council’s policy to take the arts beyond metropolitan centres. Community dance classes and workshops in schools and professional performances in local theatres were its remits.
In 2002 Kadam acquired the rights to Aditi News, the national magazine for South Asian dance. In 2008 Dutta, the director of Kadam, became the Editor of Pulse. The quarterly colour publication, with its quality writing, design and photography, was the unique publication dedicated to South Asian dance and music in the UK. Performance reviews, artist profiles and in-depth articles formed the content. The print magazine ceased publication in 2017 and moved online to www.pulseconnects.com, where it maintains its aim to connect, inform and energise, linking artists and audiences. A weekly newsletter highlights performances and events to catch.
In addition to publishing, Kadam Dance also produces and tours dance work nationally. Productions have included the Mahabharata (1997), The Rose and the Bulbul, a promenade piece for gardens (2016 and 2017) and My Soul is Alight (2016). It has commissioned work from the Odissi Ensemble, the only professional odissi-based company in the UK (Gods and Mortals, 2017, Sacred Shapes (2018).
For further detail about Kadam and its work see below.
Dutta’s latest initiative is the Banyan Tree Heritage Project, funded by the National Heritage Lottery fund.
The Banyan Tree Heritage Project
This project offered Kadam Pulse Dance an opportunity to have multiple conversations with dance artists. The interviews by Dutta of more than twenty individuals making careers in dance focused on the artists’ backgrounds, influences and inspirations, values and philosophy. These have formed the basis of a series of ‘talking-heads’ style films, which will be available for viewing on the Kadam/Pulse You-Tube Channel from summer 2022. There are also podcasts featuring dance artists and a filmed interview with Dutta herself.
As part of the project, all 56 back issues of Pulse magazine will be made freely available online.
Kadam Dance and Music was set up in Bedford in 1995 as part of the Arts Council’s policy to take the arts beyond metropolitan centres. Sanjeevini Dutta and Sujata Banerjee were joint Directors of Kadam until Banerjee left in 2000 to form her independent company. Community dance classes and workshops in schools and professional performances in local theatres were its remits.
Kadam became known for its summer intensive, the Kadam Dance Camp. This ground-breaking initiative put forward the proposition of cross-training, alongside technique classes; it came to set a standard which others have followed (Dance India, Ananda Odissi Summer School). It transformed into the International Summer School in partnership with Milapfest from 2006 until 2008, when it was taken over by Milapfest entirely and became Dance India.
Kadam under Dutta’s direction produced Unlocking Creativity Shorts from 2007, featuring artists such as Veena Bhasavaraja (Bengaluru) and Kalpana Raghuraman (Den Haag), along with UK dancers Kali Chandrasegaram and Khavita Kaur. Companies such as Angika, Shane Shambhu Dance and Sonia Sabri performed at the Hat Factory in Luton over the next few years.
From 2008-2010 Kadam led Unlocking Creativity summer courses on choreography with tutors such as Hari Krishnan, Eva Recacha and Shobana Jeyasingh. These popular courses were attended by dancers from all over the UK, Europe and the US.
Kadam’s productions have included Mahabharata in 1997, marking the Arts Council designated Year of Opera and Musical theatre, and a high point for Kadam. Directed by Nona Shephard, with music direction provided by Nitin Sawhney, the cast included Shobna Gulati (Dinner Ladies) and Ajay Chhabra (founder of Nutkhut).
In 2000 Kadam produced and toured At the Auction of the Ruby Slippers based on a short story by Salman Rushdie. Dance and music theatre productions with professional and community casts became a trademark for Kadam that continued in subsequent productions.
Kadam has been producing and touring work on a more consistent basis over recent years: My Soul is Alight in 2016 (kathak and odissi duet) with Parbati Chaudhury and Katie Ryan; Gods and Mortals in 2017 with the Odissi Ensemble – the only professional odissi-based company in the UK – and musicians Ranjana Ghatak, Gurdain Rayatt, May Robertson and Parvati Rajamani; The Rose and the Bulbul, a promenade piece for gardens in 2016 and 2017; Sacred Shapes in 2018 with the Odissi Ensemble, choreographed by Katie Ryan.