Body Language People

For Vidya Patel, Dance Is a Form of Rebirth

In collaboration with

Vidya Patel wears a jacket by Marine Serre and skirt vintage Issey Miyake courtesy of West Archive.

Movement is about death and rebirth for Birmingham-based Vidya Patel. As the founder of South Asian Dance Artists UK and a Young Associate Choreographer of the acclaimed dance organization Sadler’s Wells, she has studied Indian classical dance since childhood, and was a finalist in the South Asian category of the BBC Young Dancer competition in 2015. Patel, 27, has spent the years since interrogating the historical influences that shaped her Indian classical training— refining and expanding her practice beyond the genre, but never forgetting her roots.

Vidya wears a full look by Bottega Veneta.

“The landscape of dance is always evolving, always shifting. It’s like cycles: the new becomes old, the old becomes new, things die and then they’re born. Everything is constantly copying and imitating, with the desire of being original. I’m experiencing a lot more creativity from people that are underrepresented within the arts and occupy spaces in an I don’t give a fuck kind of way. I still do believe colonialism is present. It’s embedded within systems that many are now working towards understanding. It’s not about dismantling tradition, though, but getting rid of ideologies that were built on colonial structures. Even in Indian classical dance, there’s a huge effect from the British. My very being in the U.K. is through colonization and displacements and migration of my family, who have been born in three different continents and moved across the globe as British subjects. This all affects the arts and my work. I choreograph to make something in my mind tangible— to understand it further, to explore the possibilities of my imagination, and to ask how human emotion can be translated. I create and move to help understand myself and how I belong in the world."

All Skincare by Dr. Barbara Sturm.
Makeup by Anna Payn
Hair by Eliot McQueen
Nails by Christie Huseyin
Set Design by Sam Pidgen
Produced by The Curated
Dop Max Montgomery
Digi Op Nina Close
Lighting Direction by Ross Zillwood
Fashion Assistance by Tom Grimsdell and Tamsin Michael
Makeup Assistance by Tamsin Bilingall
Set Assistance by Kaush Odedra and Haleimah Darwish
Location Drop Studios