Aakash Odedra Company appoints Ruth Lee as new Executive Director.

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Aakash Odedra Company is delighted to announce the appointment of Ruth Lee as its new Executive Director, joining the company in August 2020.

Ruth joins the company from People Dancing where she leaves the roles of Director of Development (and Deputy Chief Executive Officer). Ruth brings with her over 29 years experience of working in the arts. With a career spanning the dance sector and local authorities, her roles have ranged from fundraising and business development to people management, mentoring and teaching. Her career in the dance sector began in administration at The Royal Ballet School, before moving on to Central School of Ballet where she was company manager of Ballet Central.

She created and managed the Dance Development programme for Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland (2008-2011) supporting the development of training for local dance artists as well as programmes for early years and young people including the now firmly established county youth dance platform. More recently, at Dance4 Ruth was instrumental in supporting the development of South Asian dance in the region.

Ruth was Chair of Aakash Odedra Company, when the company formed in 2011; she begins her role of Executive Director as the company approaches its 10 anniversary. Ruth is also a committee member of SideKick Dance Company, a Leicester based dance group for disabled young people.

Aakash Odedra said: “I am excited to work alongside Ruth to lead the team into what is now a challenging future. She was instrumental in the creation of the company in 2011 and I’m looking forward to realising our vision together.”

Ruth joins the Aakash Odedra Company at a time of great change as the company seeks to exit the Covid-19 lockdown; and bids farewell to producer and co-founder Anand Bhatt as he joins Dance City as Artistic Director.

Anand Bhatt, producer and co-founder of Aakash Odedra Company said “I wish Ruth every success in her new role as Executive Director of our beloved Aakash Odedra Company. The company is arguably one of the busiest touring dance companies in the region alongside running a dance education programme in five English regions. It is an odd feeling to leave the organisation that I co-founded with Aakash. However, with Ruth, I know that her knowledge of dance, experience of fundraising and local connectedness with an outward facing mind will tenderly care for dance in the city. Ruth will inject her own personality and I cannot wait to see what she and Aakash create together.“

Ruth Lee said: “I am really excited to be taking up this opportunity to work alongside Aakash and the board as the company moves into a new phase.  It’s an honour for me to fill Anand’s shoes! We have very different feet but we walk the same path, and I wish him well in his journey north.” 

Anu Giri, Chair of Aakash Odedra Company said “At this exceptionally challenging time for the arts, I’m confident the company is in safe hands. Ruth’s unfaltering dedication to South Asian dance in the region, combined with her experience and innovation place the company in a strong position as it approaches its 10th anniversary year.”


For more information contact katie@aakashodedra.com or call +44 (0)116 319 0733

Notes to editors

1. Aakash Odedra Company is an award winning international dance company inspired by South Asian and contemporary dance, based in Leicester. We exist to deliver exceptional creative experiences for audiences and participants and to help create a society that is happier and healthier through access to dance and the arts. We create dance through a synthesis of kathak, bharatanatyam, contemporary and Bollywood jazz, which pushes boundaries; responding to and drawing inspiration from contemporary issues. A BAME led company where diversity is integral to all our work. Our home is in the heart of Leicester’s international communities, this location has allowed us to be more aware of, and pro-active about, the opportunities of plural heritage and the importance of a culture of accessibility, social justice, messaging and making people feel welcome.

Aakash Odedra is an Associate Artist at Curve Leicester and Birmingham Hippodrome.

Aakash Odedra Company is a National Partner Organisation of Sadler’s Wells and one of Arts Council England’s National Portfolio Organisations.

2. Arts Council England is the national development body for arts and culture across England, working to enrich people’s lives. We support a range of activities across the arts, museums and libraries – from theatre to visual art, reading to dance, music to literature, and crafts to collections. Great art and culture inspires us, brings us together and teaches us about ourselves and the world around us. In short, it makes life better. Between 2018 and 2022, we will invest £1.45 billion of public money from government and an estimated £860 million from the National Lottery to help create these experiences for as many people as possible across the country. artscouncil.org.uk