Aakash Odedra is an award winning, contemporary British dancer.
Originally from Birmingham, Aakash undertook Kathak training with Smt Nilima Devi in Leicester and Bharat Natyam with Smt Chitraleka Bolar in Birmingham. To further his interest in both forms, he undertook further tutelage from Chhaya Kantaveh (Bharat Natyam) and Asha Joglekar (Kathak) in Mumbai, India. Whilst in Mumbai, he trained in indo-jazz with famous Bollywood choreographer Shiamak Davar. On his return to the UK in 2004, Aakash continued his training and worked on various dance projects including Sonia Sabri, Urja Thakore and Kumudini Lakhia.
In 2009, Aakash was commissioned to present a Kathak solo at Akram Khan’s Svapngata Festival at Sadler’s Wells Lilian Baylis Studio. This formed the basis of mentoring for Aakash by Akram who could see that the Kathak dancer had the potential to extend his movement range and took the chance to explore making a solo on him. Aakash Odedra founded his company in 2011 as a vehicle for commissioning solos and to be able develop his own works. His style is a unique synthesis of his solid training in both classical Indian dance and contemporary dance and theatre.
As a choreographer, his credits include theatre, opera and dance including “James Brown: Get on the Good Foot” (Dance, Apollo Theater, New York); “God’s Little Soldier” (Opera, Theater Freiburg); “Unearthed” (Dance, The Royal Ballet, London); the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations (Dance, Leicester); the closing of the London Cultural Olympiad (Dance, Nottingham and Birmingham); “Sukanya” (Opera, Royal Opera House, LSO, Curve) and Pink Sari Revolution (Theatre, Curve, Leicester).
Aakash has worked with illustrious artistic collaborators including choreographers Akram Khan, Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui and Russell Maliphant (“Rising”, 2011), Ars Electronica Futurelab, Lewis Major and Damien Jalet (“Mumur” and “Inked”, 2014); Aditi Mangaldas (“Echoes”, 2015), Sabrina Mahfouz and David Poznanter (“I Imagine”, 2015).
In 2016, Aakash created his first children show “Hanuman the Hero” which toured Leicestershire schools. Also, in the same year, the company partnered with Dance Umbrella to tour Aditi Mangaldas Dance Company to English regional venues. These works formed part of Aakash Odedra Company’s Diwali 2016 project, and marked the beginning of the company’s involvement in Leicester’s Diwali celebrations which are the largest outside of India.
Currently, Aakash and his producer, Anand Bhatt, are developing a new international collaboration exploring the changing climate of freedom of expression in Turkey and on the Syrian/Iraqi migrant crisis. #JeSuis will premiere in February 2018 at The Arts Center, NYU Abu Dhabi.
Aakash has been honoured with numerous awards and bursaries, including the Italian award Danza&Danza, a Dora performance award in Canada, the Audience Award Dance Week 2013 in Croatia, a Sky Academy Arts Scholarship and a Bessie Award (2014) whose organisation nominated him again after his outstanding performance in New York in 2016. Aakash was nominated as Best Male Dancer at the Eastern Eye ACTA Awards (London), 2017.