30 Artists, 30 Years – Aakash Odedra
As part of our 30th anniversary celebrations, we were pleased to ask Aakash Odedra a few questions. We enquired about his history with dance, being Asian in the contemporary dance world, and the future of his company given the major changes we have gone through. His heartfelt response feels prescient, truthful and above all, inspiring. Do have a listen in the video below.
Aakash Odedra is a dancer, choreographer and teacher. Born in Birmingham, UK and trained in the classical Indian dance styles of Kathak (Nilima Devi, Leicester and Asha Joglekar, India) and Bharatanatyam (Chitraleka Bolar, Birmingham and Chhaya Kantaveh, India). Aakash formed Aakash Odedra Company in 2011 as a vehicle for commissioning solos and to develop his own choreographic work. His debut full length solo Rising featured new short works created for him by Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui, Akram Khan and Russell Maliphant. As a choreographer he was commissioned to create a piece for James Brown: Get on the Good Foot (Apollo Theater, New York) and the Opera God’s Little Soldier (Theater Freiburg), The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations and the closing of the London Cultural Olympiad. Aakash has received numerous awards and bursaries, including a Dora performance award (Canada), Danza&Danza award (Italy), Audience Award Dance Week 2013 (Croatia), Infant Award 2014 (Serbia), Bessie Award (Best Male Performer, 2014) and a Sky Academy Arts Scholarship. Aakash has collaborated with celebrated dancer Hu Shenyuan and composer Nicki Wells to create the duet Samsara. In 2020 he was invited by the British Council in China to present the documentary Making of Samsara as part of the #ConnectdByCreativity UK-China Contemporary Culture Festival. Most recently Aakash has embarked upon a four month residency at New York University Abu Dhabi; presenting workshops, online lectures and virtual performances. He’s launched Across_Dance in collaboration with choreographer Aditi Mangaldas, a new series of online workshops with 100 artists taking part in the pilot across 13 countries.