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Poshak Puralekh

In 2019-2020, CICD celebrated its almost 40-year-old costume archive with its project Poshak Puralekh, funded by The National Lottery Heritage Fund. This project looked at around 300 costumes accumulated since the Centre was formed in 1981 by Nilima Devi MBE. The best selection from these costumes will then be presented to Leicester Museums, Wolverhampton Art Gallery, Nottingham Museum and the Victoria & Albert Museum in London. This will become a long-term resource for Indian dance, heritage and culture in the UK.

A series of events and performance programmes were developed showcasing original costumes and choreographies, including talks, dance performances storytelling and dance-related craft activities e.g. mehndi, puppet making, embroidery, paper jewellery making etc. The events aimed to reach new and diverse communities and were held at various locations, such as: Curve Theatre, Peepul Enterprise, a primary school, Abbey Pumping Station, local hospitals, Leicester’s Guildhall, BBC Radio Leicester, New Walk Museum and as part of local festivals such as Leicester Belgrave Mela and Diwali celebrations. A short film has also been produced showcasing the costumes for the Poshak Puralekh project and the history of Centre for Indian Classical Dance. All the costumes were photographed and recorded, and this database is kept at CICD. Seven oral history interviews were also carried out.

Behind the Poshak Puralekh Project

  Oral History Interviews

These oral history interviews were carried out by CICD’s volunteers as part of the Poshak Puralekh project. We are grateful to the following interviewees for dedicating time to walk down the memory lane and talk about CICD’s costumes:


Nilima Devi MBE
One of the leading Kathak pioneering artists in the UK and the founder and Artistic Director of CICD, who has contributed to Indian dance forms since 1981.

Aakash Odedra
International acclaimed Kathak and Contemporary dancer and choreographer, and ex-student of CICD. Founder and Artistic Director of Aakash Odedra Company.

Meera Patel
Trained in Kathak with CICD since her young age and now teaching and performing Kathak professionally in London.

Kesha Raithatha
Professional Kathak and Contemporary dancer and choreographer, and ex-student of CICD. 

Priti Raithatha
Learned Kathak at CICD and now teaching and choreographing Folk and Creative dances and basics in Kathak.

Gita Lakhlani
One of the very first students to finish a Diploma in Kathak at CICD, based on Kathak syllabus of Baroda Music College (India). She teaches Kathak and Folk within schools and Community Groups.

Naiyna Whittekar
Received her Diploma in Kathak dance as part of the very first batch of students at CICD. She contributed through teaching dance in schools and communities and performed at various places in the UK and abroad.


We are also thankful to our volunteers for their time and enthusiasm in taking these interviews:

 Mita Pujara, Andreea Ghervan, Pooja Kapadia, Sneya Rajani, Sharenza Gulzar and Amirah Khan.

All interviews will be deposited with the East Midlands Oral History Archive (EMOHA) at the University of Leicester.