Nilima Devi - Kathak style.jpg


Nilima Devi MBE is the founder as well as the Artistic Director of the Centre for Indian Classical Dance and one of the leading exponents of Kathak dance in the UK. She is a dancer, choreographer and teacher from India who has firmly established a professional reputation in the West and acknowledges her ability to “promote Indian culture through dance” and to educate the local populace in Indian dance forms with a particular focus on the classical style of Kathak, that continues to drive her impetus for dance forward. 


Nilima Devi was born in Vadodara, India and studied Kathak (B.Mus. (1973) and M.Mus. (1975) with Distinctions) at the College of Performing Arts, M.S. University, Vadodara under the tutelage of Pandit Sunderlal Gangani. Her dance career began in Germany where she performed extensively between 1979-1980 before settling in the UK, where she founded the Centre for Indian Classical Dance in Leicester in 1981. 

She took her Masters degree (MMus) and received a distinction in Kathak dance in 1975 from the Faculty of Performing Arts from M. S. University, Baroda. Nilima Devi was trained by Narendra Patel, Prafulla Oza and Pandit Sunderlal Gangani. She has widely performed in India, Germany, Japan, and the UK as a soloist as well as in collaboration with other professional Kathak, Bharatnatyam and Odissi dancers, and she continues to perform and choreograph new work almost every year. A key influence on her artistic and choreographic works has been the late Pandit Durgalal (Delhi), Smt. Kumudini Lakhia (Ahmedabad), and the late Smt. Pandita Rohini Bate (Pune), who were guest resident artists at CICD.


For the past 40 years, she has been working as the Artistic Director of the Centre for Indian Classical Dance in Leicester. Many young Kathak dancers have been trained by her. Some are now themselves teachers, performers and community dance tutors, working locally, regionally, nationally and internationally.

Mission Statement

The Centre for Indian Classical Dance (CICD) is a visionary South Asian dance organisation that acts as a specialist dance agency in the East Midlands. It promotes and develops South Asian dance through training at all levels, performances, networking and partnerships at the local, regional and
national level. 

CICD passionately believes that South Asian Dance is for everybody irrespective of age, gender, ability, race and nationality. By promoting interest in dance, it also promotes interest in South Asian heritage and culture.

Visit us at for all the projects and events we have been
involved in.



Nilima Devi Menski, the founder and Artistic Director of the Centre for Indian Classical Dance (CICD) in Leicester, has been announced as a recipient of an MBE (Member of the Order of the British Empire) in the Queen's New Year Honours List 2013 for her services to dance.



She has choreographed many pieces of dance work, often leading to major productions and performances, such as:

* Kathak Katha [1988]

* The Ugly Duckling [1989]
* Triangle [1991]
* Kathak Double Bill [1993]

* Melory [1995]


As part of the annual Leicestershire Schools Festival, Nilima Devi has contributed to the South Asian dance input in highly successful productions such as

* Aladdin 
* Stars and Stripes
* Dance Spectacular


and a section from Rainbow for the celebration of 20 Years of Youth Dance in Leicester.


As part of the Diwali Millennium celebrations in Leicestershire, Nilima Devi devised and produced Vyom, a fascinating journey through the Indian mythology and science of the solar system. As part of her research project, she collaborated in a creative process with a contemporary choreographer to develop two solo dance pieces called Brahmari and Against The Tide combining in an innovative way the movement vocabulary of Kathak dance with the contemporary language of Western dance.

Through the Year of the Artist Award, she choreographed and performed 'Flaming Feet' [2000], an innovative collaboration of Kathak and Irish dance and music, which opened up these distinctive and rich musical and dance traditions to a wider audience.

In autumn 2001, Nilima Devi choreographed and performed her, at that time new; solo work entitled Katha Kahe so Kathak (Kathak Tells a Story). This dramatic, expressive production, tracing the evolution of Kathak through the ages and accompanied by live classical Indian music, was premiered at Leicester's Haymarket Theatre on 31st October 2001 and was then performed at various venues in the UK.


Another new work called Images using new technology, and collaborating with Jazz, Irish and Indian musicians and dance were toured in
June-July 2003.


Apart from particular projects, Nilima Devi is always engaged in performing, teaching, choreographing solo pieces for her and for young dancers and regularly performs for school assemblies and for important festivals to raise awareness, interest and appreciation for Indian classical dance.

Her annual visit to India also keeps her busy performing and establishing further networks and contacts for international cultural network and exchanges.

In September 2004, as part of research and development, Nilima Devi created Urjah, using two Indian classical dance styles (Kathak and Bharatnatyam) based on the ancient Maha Mantra Gayatri, the energy behind the sun.


Urjah was later performed by two Kathak and two Bharatnatyam dancers as part of Nartan Festival organised by CICD in autumn 2005.


Since autumn 2007 Nilima Devi Dance Company has been touring Urjah production in the East Midlands region in the mainstream venues to raise knowledge and understanding of Indian classical dance to diverse audiences.


Nilima Devi was invited to perform Kathak dance in Italy as part of the conference at Siena University in July 2008 based on the theme of Women and Law.

Nilima Devi continues to give solo performances and workshops at various venues and schools in the UK, apart from training young talented students of dance on a weekly basis.

In addition, Nilima Devi has trained several accomplished British-born dance artists, such as Aakash Odedra, who has been touring 'Rising' with the British Council in India and internationally, a solo production choreographed by Russell Maliphant, Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui and Akram Khan.