Like African forms of dance, South Asian dance has a long history in Britain. As early as 1838, Indian dancers- the Bayadères- performed in Britain at the Adelphi Theatre in London. From the Second World War onwards, many South Asian dance and theatre companies were formed. One of the earliest was the Asian Music Circle which was founded in 1953 in London, and also had branches in Birmingham, Brighton, Leicester and Manchester among others. The Circle was founded by Ayana Deva Angadi who was responsible for introducing members of the Beatles to Ravi Shankar. In the 1960s George Harrison was taught to play the sitar by members of the Circle (Newman 2006.)
The main object of the Asian Music Circle was "fostering the appreciation and study of the Music and Dances of all Asian countries, thereby creating greater understanding of Asian peoples and cultures" (Asian Music Circle programme 1965-66.) It created a pool of musicians who would provide their services to festivals, exhibitions and organisations.
The Circle's main activities consisted of:
Gramophone Group meetings
classes on classical and folk dance, the playing of the sitar and tabla, and singing
concerts and performances by South Asian artists
The above image is of the cover of a programme promoting an Indian classical dance recital tour organised by the Asian Music Circle in 1965-66
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Birmingham City Archives: MS 2141/C/15
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