‘What is dance but a play of mass and energy in a continuum of time and space? Dance is an engagement with energy. You can put your arm in a straight line or a curved shape, and allow the energy to flow along that. As you move, your relationship with gravity keeps changing. So for me, dance is a play of energy.’ Bisakha Sarker
Bisakha Sarker is a dance artist and facilitator. Bisakha was born and grew up in India where she trained in classical and creative Indian dance. After coming to the UK, she adopted Liverpool as her home. She is now a leading practitioner of Indian creative dance in the UK. Bisakha has performed across the UK and creates and also leads groundbreaking conferences, workshops and community projects. Bisakha aims to use her rich spiritual creativity and passion for dance to inspire and empower all who work with her.
Bisakha’s innovative work has challenged traditional cultural boundaries, taken dance into care homes and addressed the challenges of living with dementia. She has devised four international conferences, delivered in partnership with a wide range of agencies. These explored topics as diverse as ‘Marks of Time: Dance and Ageing’; ‘Memory: Dance and Dementia’; ‘Transition: Dance and Heritage’; and ‘A Different Tune or the Same Old Song?’ on cultural diversity and using new technology with children.
Bisakha creates dance works using movement, music, poetry, visual art and performance, often in collaboration with other artists. Her powerful work Do not yet fold your wings is a multi-media art work that reflects on the notion of a meaningful life explored in Dr Atul Gawande’s 2014 Reith Lecture series The Future of Medicine. Unseen Designs is an artistic response to the wonders of the universe. The film reflects in dance, spoken word, music and image on current scientific thought and hopes to evoke curiosity on the mysteries of the world around us. It lasts as long as it takes sunlight to travel from the Sun to the Earth.
Bisakha’s achievements and contribution to the UK arts scene was recently celebrated in a book, published by the Baring Foundation in 2019. ‘The Artist in Time: A Generation of Great British Creatives’ by Chris Fite-Wassilak, with photographs by Ollie Harrop and published by the Bloomsbury/Herbert Press. She is also a Winston Churchill Memorial Trust Fellow (2013), was awarded an MBE in 2014 for services to South Asian dance and is a life member of the Foundation for Community Dance (People Dance).
Bisakha is the founder and artistic director of Chaturangan. The company was founded in 2002 and began as an initiative to support and promote South Asian dance, culture in the northwest and across the UK. Chaturangan is a word meaning ‘four courtyards’. Chaturangan now works from Liverpool to create dance productions and to raise the profile of South Asian dance both locally and nationally. The company now has three aims. These are to:
- Create new original dance related projects and films
- Support artists from all disciplines to make new work
- Organise opportunities for discussions on topical issues
As the artistic director of Chaturangan, Bisakha has led many arts and community projects, originated significant conferences, and pioneered work with older people living in residential homes and their carers. The history of the company and details of previous projects are found in our archive see here.
©Image by Simon Richardson