Mehek Live is a new engagement project built around the creation and performance of Aakash Odedra Company’s newest performance Mehek choreographed and danced by Aakash and Aditi Mangaldas.
In ideating this project, Aditi and Aakash wanted to create a work that would help illuminate wider societal issues and be relevant to the widest audience possible.
Mehek explores the taboo love story of a young man and an older woman. Inspired by the Indian epic Heer Ranjha, Mehek intertwines artistic disciplines and creatives from across the planet to create a raging inferno of passion that engulfs a world.
We had noticed that that despite increasing international successes, our community closer to home is often ‘left out’ when it comes to engaging with our large-scale stage work.
Through Mehek Live, we wanted to explore ways that actual stories and lived experiences could be included in the creative process and at the same time, that process be embedded within our community. We are working closely with 450 elder community members on the creative process by which, over 8 months, they act as co-creators in the work, and, through workshops, creative sessions, choreographic tasking and interviews with the creative team, their stories are integrated into the narrative and dramaturgy of Mehek, culminating in a work that is truthful and authentic when exploring these issues.
At the heart of Mehek Live is the desire to explore, push forward, declare and celebrate older people from our community, their stories and lived experiences, and their engagement with high quality live arts experiences.
This project will culminate in our community co-creators being granted exclusive access to the international premiere of the work through a live-stream in the comfort of their own homes and community centres and a celebration ‘VIP Red Carpet’ event for them being held at the UK premiere of Mehek in April 2024.
Mehek Live is supported by Nationally Significant Project funding from Arts Council England and delivered in partnership with creative dance company Moving Together.