Mission & History

To enrich people's lives through the engagement and participation in traditional and contemporary South Asian music and dance.

South Asian Arts-uk (SAA-uk) is a registered charity that was set up in 1997 by Ustad Dharambir Singh MBE to preserve the art of South Asian classical music and dance. The organisation was designed to pass down its love of the South Asian arts to the next generations through performances, community events and a complex education programme.

Since 1998, our CEO and Artistic Director Keranjeet Kaur Virdee has steered SAA-uk into a bright and positive NPO (National Portfolio Organisation), with three academies, an annual Summer School and successful performance series and special projects she establishes year after year. 

Over time, SAA-uk has climbed its way to a pioneering charity and has undergone many key milestones in the journey to becoming an internationally recognised organisation. Here are some noteworthy achievements that have helped SAA-uk become what it is today. 

We at SAA-uk are a dedicated team ready to push the boundaries of South Asian classical music and dance. We strive to help individuals find their talents and to give them the opportunity to unlock their creative potential. We desire for everyone to develop their confidence and pride and to ultimately empower South Asian classical music and dance to create a positive contribution to society and the communities surrounding us.

As an organisation, SAA-uk is committed to the individual, whether they be a student, an audience member or donor, without consideration of age, gender, sexuality, race or ability. We are proud of the art we create and pass on to our students, audiences, participants and artists. All our work is underpinned by SAA-uk Concert Series, SAA-uk Music & Dance Academies, SAA-uk Summer School, SAA-uk Community engagement programme and Artists Support programme.

Our small yet dedicated and passionate team of staff and artists delivers over 20 weekly academy classes to 150 students (in 3 Academies for Hindustani and Carnatic music), more than 20 live performances per year to over 4,000 audience members, an annual Summer School and Summer Solstice Festival, and countless collaborations and advocacy work across Yorkshire, UK, Europe and beyond.

Finding, supporting and nurturing talent to give rise to the next generation of artists and art leaders is at the heart of SAA-uk's work. To date, SAA-uk can confidently claim to have played key roles in shaping and supporting the carers of many artists and art leaders such as Jasdeep Singh Degun and Keertan Kaur. We have also collaborated with many arts organisations in and out of Leeds, companies and community groups to provide the best opportunities for all members of society to experience South Asian arts. Our work ensures communities have equal access to high quality arts experiences and feel a part of the rich arts and culture in Yorkshire.  

We strive to represent the diversity of global communities contained in 21st century Britain and we are committed to commissioning, producing and presenting the very best artistic expression of South Asian classical music and dance. Throughout our work we ensure all our activities adhere to SAA-uk's ‘prism of excellence', a system which dictates that the standard of SAA-uk's output must be outstanding, and through which the whole organisation operates.

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