Manch UK: new virtual platform from South Asian dance community
10 July 2020
Reporter: Vera Liber
Driven by the isolation of lockdown, UK-based producer and director Mira Kaushik and marketing consultant Ambika Kucheria conceived the idea of a virtual stage to bring inspirational stories and performances by the UK’s leading South Asian dance artists to global audiences.
Working with development practitioner Subhaluxmi Mukherji and dancers Shyam Dattani, Suhani Dhanki, Abirami Eswar, Vidya Patel and Saloni Saraf, they have launched a new platform Manch UK, named after the Hindi word for stage.
Every day for 34 days in April and May, a UK artist presented a short performance and shared stories of his or her creative journey, inspirations and challenges. All 34 videos of the live sessions are now available on the Manch UK YouTube channel.
Kaushik said, “Manch UK was a simple but compelling idea which evolved out of a desire to continue sharing the arts in the absence of live performance. It became a reason for the South Asian dance community to get together every evening in strange and scary times. They not only connected with the artist of the day but also connected with each other in the process. There is nothing more powerful or empowering than sharing our stories. In the first phase, we presented dancers, however our intention is to be a cross-arts platform and in future we will be featuring artists from across the genres.”
Choreographer and performer Aakash Odedra said, “Manch UK was a connective experience in a time of isolation and loneliness. The excitement and conversations between artists and audience members has been unparalleled to any experience I have had in my 28 years of dancing! I felt more connected to my dear friends and colleagues than ever before.”
The 34 Manch UK artists are Aakash Odedra, Suhani Dhanki, Divya Kasturi, Sooraj Subramaniam, Monisha Bharadwaj, Vena Ramphal, Bisakha Sarker, Vidya Patel, Stella Uppal, Piali Ray, Sanjeevini Dutta, Payal Ramchandani, Shivani Sethia, Anusha Subramanyam, Urja Thakore, Shalini Shivashankar, Shruti Shah, Prakash Yadagudde, Ashwini Kalsekar, Chitraleka Bolar, Nina Rajarani, Chitra Sundaram, Sujata Banerjee, Gauri Sharma Tripathi, Subhash Viman Gorania, Parbati Chaudhury, Pratap Pawar, Sonia Sabri, Pushkala Gopal, Nilima Devi, Mayuri Boonham, Subathra Subramaniam, Nahid Siddiqui and Mavin Khoo.