Follow Us on Twitter

Darbar Festival - Sadler’s Wells

Preview by Lizzie Guilfoyle

NOW in its second year, Darbar Festival returns to Sadler’s Wells from Friday, November 23 to Sunday, November 25, 2018.

Curated by Sadler’s Wells Associate Artist Akram Khan, Darbar Festival welcomes some of the most exciting names in classical Indian dance.

Presenting the first performance of the festival, Renjith Babu and Vijna Vasudevan – partners both on and off-stage – are part of a new generation of classical Indian dance.

In An Evening of Bharatanatyam, this exciting duo push the borders of bharatnatyam and elevate the art of the jugalbandi (duet) in an unusual new work by the bharatanatyam and contemporary artist Mavin Khoo. Accompanied by a live orchestra, the pair explore the balance between creation and destruction, and the paired forces of Shiva and Kali.

The second performance evening of the Akram Khan-curated dance programme, Adventures in Odissi and Kathak, combines two classical Indian dance forms in solo performances by two exceptional female dancers.

Winner of the 2017 Sangeet Natak Akademi award for outstanding contribution to odissi and “Indian-dance royalty” (Financial Times), Sujata Mohapatra performs a beautifully crafted work that treads the line between odissi dance and theatre.

The multi award-winning kathak dancer Gauri Diwakar performs Hari Ho…Gati Meri (“Let my salvation be in the supreme”), a sublime solo in four parts inspired by the words of four Muslim poets, each taking Krishna as their subject. This piece has been specially choreographed for Gauri Diwakar by Aditi Mangaldas, who “owned the stage without trying to earn it” (The Guardian) when performing as part of the 2017 Darbar Festival at Sadler’s Wells.

The evening culminates in a duet combining the extraordinary talents of Mohapatra and Diwakar.

Darbar Festival at Sadler’s Wells features original lighting design by Aideen Malone.

The Festival starts its journey in a series of Indian classical music showcases and courses at Southbank Centre (September 17-23) and the Barbican (October 25-28).

In Conversation with Akram Khan: Contemporary to Classical: Friday, November 23 at 6pm.

Abhinaya Improvisation with Mavin Khoo: Sunday, November 25 at 5pm.

Tickets: £12, £18, £24, £32, £40, £50 – available from the box office on 020 7863 8000 or online at

Performance Times: 7:30pm.

To find out more, visit