Aakash Odedra

Artistic Director

aakash@aakashodedra.com

Aakash was born in Birmingham 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) . His early development in the United Kingdom saw support from Sampad (including support in a development bursary) and Akademi (through a major choreographic bursary). In 2009, Aakash performed a solo choreographed by Kumudini Lakhia titled ‘Maati Re’ at the Svapngata Festival at Sadler’s Wells curated by Akram Khan. Khan followed this with a period of mentorship, allowing Aakash to develop contemporary movement. He took part in the European Network of Performing Arts’ 2010 ChoreoLab in Serbia through Dance Umbrella. Also in 2010, he performed a duet with Sanjukta Sinha choreographed by Kumudini Lakhia titled ‘Tatha’ , He incorporates that training in a unique synthesis with contemporary dance, both in his choreography and his creations with other choreographers.

Aakash formed Aakash Odedra Company in 2011 as a vehicle for commissioning solos and for Aakash to develop his own choreographic work. His debut full length solo Rising featured new short works created on him by Khan, Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui and Russell Maliphant. As 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, a Danza&Danza award (Italy), a Dora performance award (Canada), Audience Award Dance Week 2013 (Croatia), Infant Award 2014 (Serbia), Bessie Award (Best Male Performer, 2014) and a Sky Academy Arts Scholarship. In May 2014 Aakash Odedra Company presented Murmur (with Lewis Major and Ars Electronica Futurelab) and Inked (by Damien Jalet) at International Dance Festival Birmingham and in the same year was commissioned by the Royal Ballet for the Deloitte season. The company’s third production ‘Echoes (Aditi Mangaldas) and I Imagine (in collaboration with Sabrina Mahfouz and David Poznanter’) premiered at Curve Theatre in October 2016. In 2017 Aakash choreographed for the Royal Opera House production ‘Sukanya’ composed by the late great Pt Ravi Shankar and acted as movement director for Curve Theatre’s ‘Pink Sari Revolution’.

During 2017 Aakash was conducting research for his first group ensemble. Titled #JeSuis, the work in progress version of the work was taken to Edinburgh Fringe International where the production won The Amnesty International Award for Freedom of Expression. The show fully premiered in February 2018 at New York University Abu Dhabi followed by Birmingham’s Patrick Centre where the piece won its second award as ‘Best Dance’ at the Eastern Eye ACTA Awards 2018 and was followed by a nomination for ‘Best Stage Production’ at the Asian Media Awards in Manchester.