Rising is the solo show that launched the extraordinary performer and choreographer Aakash Odedra onto the dance scene. On Wednesday 17 November, it will return to Birmingham Hippodrome where Odedra is also an Associate Artist.
First performed in 2011 at Birmingham Hippodrome’s Patrick Studio, Rising notably featured solo works by three of contemporary dance’s biggest stars; Akram Khan, Russell Maliphant and Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui – alongside work by Odedra himself. As critic Judith Mackrell said at the time, it was: “the dance equivalent of a red-carpet event”.
Each of the choreographers used Odedra’s background in the classical techniques of Kathak and Bharatanatyam to explore process, aesthetics and a new way of looking at the solo dancer. The result was an exceptional contemporary programme that won Odedra his second Bessie nomination for Outstanding Performer and a Dora Award (Canada) for Best Male Performance.
Odedra’s virtuoso Nritta is an exposition of dance in its simplest form, focusing on the essence and pure energy of Kathak. Odedra explores rhythm and mathematics. The constant return to the start of the 16-beat time cycle in his score acts as a metaphor for mind, body and soul coming into alignment.
Akram Khan’s starting point for In The Shadow of Man was the way the Kathak masters used animals as inspiration. Whole repertoires were based on the qualities, movements and rhythms of certain creatures. In his journey with Odedra, Khan imagined an animal spirit residing deep within the dancer’s body. The score is by Golden Globe-winning composer Jocelyn Pook.
In Cut, Russell Maliphant draws elements of Odedra’s classical south Asian techniques into a contained world with its own logic, flow and form, where lighting cuts, shapes and highlights the movement. Maliphant worked alongside his long-term creative collaborators, lighting designer Michael Hulls and composer Andy Cowton.
Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui’s Constellation is driven by his fascination with the elements, perspective and illusion. His choreography brings patterns of sound and light together to create a system where things are kept both suspended and perpetually moving. Right at the centre is Odedra as an astral body that generates its own rhythms and luminosity.
Aakash Odedra’s Rising is at Birmingham Hippodrome on Wednesday 17 November. Tickets are on sale now and can be booked at www.birminghamhippodrome.com.