21 January 2015 at 5.09pm | Comment on this article
Dancer and choreographer Aakash Odedra is one of the UK’s most promising dance artists. As a dancer he’s worked with leading choreographers, all drawn to his unique language of movement – which is influenced by his Indian classical training in Kathak and Bharata Natyam, a guiding force for his own choreography. He’s also created a presence for himself on YouTube, through his company’s channel AakashOdedraCompany. Here are some of our favourite Odedra moments from YouTube:
While Aakash was in rehearsals for Unearthed as part of The Royal Ballet's Deloitte Ignite 2014 Festival (watch rehearsal footage here) we got him in front of a slow-motion camera. The results, as you’d expect, are breathtaking – and give a unique insight into the power, strength and skill that lies behind the rapid, swirling movement of Aakash’s distinctive dance style.
Aakash first placed himself on the international map with his triple programme Rising, featuring works by Russell Maliphant, Akram Khan and Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui, all created on Aakash. The triple bill was the first time Aakash had worked so intensively with contemporary choreographers. He’s spoken both of the steep learning curve and the need ‘to evolve – the only constant for me is evolution; evolution of dance, spiritually, mentally, physically’. This overview by the British Council from the 2013 Edinburgh Showcase demonstrates the variety of this unique triple bill.
Aakash’s latest work, a double programme of Murmur and Inked (which he performs in the Linbury Studio Theatre later this month) takes inspiration from Aakash’s personal history: Murmur is inspired by his dyslexia, and Inked by his fascination with his grandmother’s ritualistic tattoos. Each work, like Rising, was a process of collaboration – for Murmer with choreographer Lewis Major and the digital design team Ars Electronica Futurelab, and for Inked with choreographer Damien Jalet.
It’s a double programme that, like Rising, has attracted worldwide attention for Aakash. Murmur in particular has struck a chord, for the creativity with which it expresses in physical terms the internal experience of coping with dyslexia. In 2014 Aakash was invited to perform an adapted version of the work for the acclaimed TED Talks.
It might be especially obvious in Murmur and Inked, but Aakash’s background, his relationship with his grandmother and his early study of Kathak are clear influences on all his work. In this short video by Sky Arts (sponsors of Murmur) Aakash describes the storytelling nature of Kathak and its basis in myth.
What are your favourite videos of Aakash?
Aakash Odedra performs Mumur/Inked in the Linbury Studio Theatre 23–4 January 2015. The performances are sold out apart from returns.