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To mark our 40th anniversary in 2021, we celebrated our impact on dance in Leicester and the development of Indian classical dance in the UK and internationally. Two projects were delivered: Pancham and Parampara. We are grateful for support for this work from the National Lottery Heritage Fund, Arts Council England, Curve Theatre and Leicester City Council.  

Parampara means ‘heritage’ or ‘tradition’ in Hindi. This project, which is supported by the National Lottery Heritage Fund, has collected written memories of traditional Indian dance in Leicester, and videos of recollections including from ex-CICD students. An online film will be made including these, telling the 40-year story of the Centre for Indian Classical Dance, decade by decade. It is hoped that the videos will be deposited with the Media Archive for Central England, and sound recordings from them with the East Midlands Oral History Archive.

The written memories and film will be publicly launched later in 2021 and will be available on this website and on our you-tube channel. The launch will include an interview with Nilima Devi MBE, an international Kathak dancer and founder of CICD.

An archival film of Parampara -

40 years of Indian dance in Leicester.


100 Memories of Indian Dance in Leicester

CICD celebrates 40th years with 100 written memories from artists, Gurus, students and the public of their memories of Indian dance.

40 short quotes for CICD's 40 years anniversary

Nilima Devi MBE, Artistic Director of CICD


“When I came to Leicester in September 1980,  I was invited by a friend to go and watch the Navratri dances. When I watched in a tent in Cossington Park, I was surprised to see the standard of singing & dancing & it reminded me of Baroda in India where I used to go to dance during Navaratri, the festival of nine nights.” 

Dr Heena Chavda (Diabetologist)

"My first dance memory is when I was 6 years old and used to listen to Indian movie songs and just dance my heart out." 


Hema Chhaniyara (née Lad, lifelong Kathak student, Strategic Marketing & PR)

My fondest memories are watching Didi’s dance performances when I was young, and it helped me connect with my culture and heritage.


Ludivine Correria De Barros (Fashion Designer

I had so much fun specially when we started dancing, I was showed some Indian moves that a friend of mine taught me. So much fun, so much energy!” 

I really loved it as a spectator that some dances told stories and were performed to represent some deeper meaning.

Deimena (Senior Recruitment Coordinator, Hays Talent Acquisitions)



This dance form, Indian dance, was where I felt at home.

Shreena Dasani (Fixed Income Trader)






We are both conscious that our lives have been incredibly enriched by our involvement in Indian Dance, encouraged by Nilima, our guru.

Joy Foxley and Catherine Lowe (Nottingham)



I also remember listening to an old cassette of Raj Kapoor and memorising and singing all the songs on it.

Andreea Monalisa Ghervan(Recruitment Coordinator, Freelance Project Assistant & Dancer) 

My first Indian dance memory was when I was 13 years old and in school when we had to learn Indian folk dance.”  

Kalpesh Gosai  (UI / UX designer)

I remember starting Navratri for my Samaj in 1972, until then no other group in Leicester had organised Navratri or encouraged this function.

Kirit Jethwa (Architect, now retired)


Bhavana Mehta(Jain Samaj Leicester) 

“This first experience of celebration of an Indian cultural festival helped me settle here very smoothly.” 


Usha Mehta (President, Jain Centre, Leicester) 

“They have trained and instilled our generation with the importance of our dance culture and continue to do so.” 


Velash Mistry (Teacher & Choreographer)

“I have loved learning Indian dancing from the age of 8. I always found that it helped me learn more about my culture and express myself through dance.” 

Aakash Odedra (Artistic Director, Aakash Odedra Dance Company, Alumnus of CICD)

“It was a brilliant project in which I got to work with dancers from London, different professional classical dancers, and it was an experience that enhanced my ability to dance, and it also helped my development within Kathak and contemporary movement.” 

My first experience of Nilima Devi’s work was, as a student on the performing arts degree at Leicester Polytechnic, watching a performance of The Ugly Duckling at the Knighton Fields centre in Leicester in 1989.

Chris Stenton, Executive Director, People Dancing: the foundation for community dance

I also witnessed colourful lively dance showcases at De Montfort Hall, including Annual Raas Garba Competitions with teams from all over the country, as well as Irish, Polish, Ukrainian and Latvian folk dance groups.

Prof. Werner Menski (Chair of CICD)






I felt very lucky to say that dance in Leicester has been a huge part of my life. I remember being a young child watching my mother and her colleagues along with Didi (Nilima Devi) rehearse and perform for many events

Kesha Raithatha (BA, full-time dancer, associate artistic director at Aakash Odedra Company,  Workplace artist at The Place Theatre, London, Curve Creative resident, Curve, Leicester and Freelancer)

Though very young, I was dancing Raas Garba in East Africa prior to coming to the UK. Leicester was popular for holding annual Raas Garba competitions since the 1970s, so I became part of this every year until 1974

Priti Raithatha (South Asian Dance, combined Honours, De Montfort University 1993, Physical fitness/Health-Wellbeing coach, dance tutor and choreographer)

Sarriea Din (Dancer, Dance Administrator)


One of my strongest and endearing memories with CICD is when Nilima Didi showed me how to string my own dancing bells (ghungroos). 
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