Nilima Devi recieves MBE Award 2016


Nilima Devi MBE

BCom Hons. and MMus (Distinction)

Nilima Devi is one of the leading exponents of Kathak dance in the UK. She is a dancer, choreographer and teacher from India who has firmly established a professional reputation in the West. She has widely performed in India, Germany and the UK as a soloist and continues to perform new work every year.

Based in Leicester, she is responsible for the development of South Asian dance in the city (community), and in schools and colleges throughout Leicestershire.

For the past 20 years she has been working as the Artistic Director of the Centre for Indian Classical Dance in Leicester. Many young Kathak dancers have been trained by her, some of whom are now themselves teachers, performers and community dance tutors, working locally, regionally and nationally.

The Centre for Indian Classical Dance now acts as a resource and research centre for South Asian dance in the United Kingdom. The Centre only provides training to dedicated advanced students, who would like to take up dance seriously and see it as a long-term achievement which will provide them with a means to contribute to the development of South Asian dance as an art form.

In her capacity as the part-time Asian Dance Development Officer for Leicester City Council, Nilima Devi has developed a consistent network of South Asian dance teaching, whereby community dance tutors conduct classes in various parts of Leicester, a process unique in the UK. She also acts as an advisor, co-ordinator, supervisor, facilitator and event organiser for South Asian dance in the city of Leicester.

She has choreographed many pieces of dance work, often leading to major performances, such as Kathak Katha, The Ugly Duckling, Triangle, Kathak Double Bill and Rainbow. As part of the annual Leicestershire Schools Festival, Nilima Devi has contributed the South Asian dance input in highly successful productions such as Aladdin, Stars and Stripes, Dance Spectacular and a section from Rainbow for the celebration of 20 Years of Youth Dance in Leicester.

As part of the Diwali Millennium celebrations in Leicestershire, Nilima Devi devised and produced "Vyom", a fascinating journey through the Indian mythology and science of the solar system. As part of her research project, she collaborated in a creative process with a contemporary choreographer to develop two solo dance pieces called 'Brahmari' and 'Against The Tide' combining in an innovative way the movement vocabulary of Kathak dance with the contemporary language of Western dance.

More recently, through the Year of the Artist Award, she choreographed and performed 'Flaming Feet', an innovative collaboration of Kathak and Irish dance and music, which opened up these distinctive and rich musical and dance traditions to a wider audience.

In autumn 2001, Nilima Devi choreographed and performed her latest new solo work entitled 'Katha Kahe so Kathak' (Kathak Tells a Story). This dramatic, expressive production, tracing the evolution of Kathak through the ages and accompanied by live classical Indian music, was premiered at Leicester's Haymarket Theatre on 31st October 2001 and was then performed at various venues in the UK.

Another new work called "Images" which is currently in development, using new technology, a storyteller and collaborating with jazz and Indian musicians, will be toured between 2003-2004.

In addition to specific projects, Nilima Devi is always engaged performing, teaching, choreographing solo pieces for her and for young dancers and regularly performs for school assemblies and for important festivals to raise awareness, interest and appreciation for Indian classical dance. Her annual visit to India also keeps her busy performing and establishing further networks and contacts for international cultural collaboration.


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