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Picture: Christian Altorfer

Rising - Aakash Odedra

Birmingham Hippodrome


Renowned Dancer and Choreographer, Aaakash Odedra returns to the birthplace of his Rising performance for one last outing of this show of dance and light.

Created in 2011 in part cooperation from the Birmingham Hippodrome and Dance Xchange, this personal journey of four very distinct pieces plots the ascent of man and is homage to his classical roots in South Asian dance.

Under the development guidance of Akram Khan, Odedra saught the help of three leading choreographers and the talent of several composers and lighting designers to help make this quartet of solos performances.

It begins with Nritta, a bare and honest display of Odedras homage to the heritage of his Indian classical dance roots. It’s a frenetic piece that relies on his lightning speed in an almost martial art display of power and stillness that serves as a fitting warm up to the more staged and creative pieces that follow.

Next is, In the Shadow of Man, with lighting by Michael Hulls and a throbbing electronic soundtrack by Jocelyn Pook. The piece is a question of our supposed evolution from animals, are we evolved or does that primal animal still within us? Beginning crouched and with his back to us, Odedra uses his form to give the impression of a dislocated unrecognisable body before evolving into the guise of a variety of animal like movements.  


He uses his body to move in a completely organic, yet unnatural manner under a grid of golden down lights that separate his form as he uses the entire stage. It’s a dawn of time effect with Odedra calling out the odd primal scream to punctuate the driving soundtrack.

The next two pieces elevate the dance to a unique captivating display of movement and light. Chorographer Russell Maliphant created Cut from Kathak movements, knowing Odedras capability. A single thin strip of white downward light creates a curtain that isolates his actions as if caught by a strobe. Odedras speed and agility uses this to create visual effects that seem to hang in the air. The lighting again by Michaels Hulls alongside Andy Cowtons industrial droning soundtrack, create a technical machine like precision to the performance.

The final piece, Constellation, sees Odedras toying with a fascination of the planets. Created by Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui, lighting by Willy Cessa and Music by Olga Wojciechowska, this engaging gentle mix of spectacle has Odedra under a stage of glowing orbs that seem to mystically fly off in unconventional directions when he engages with each of them. It’s a spiritual piece that reflects the light within and without us. He final takes one light and both kills the others and revives them with it with what seems like a farewell to some mysterious spiritual energy.

It all began a decade ago for this Leicester-based dancer and in that time his performance and dance ability has clearly matured. This is the final curtain call for Rising with only one other performance remaining and therefore is a fitting end for Odedra to dance these mesmerising pieces in the venue that saw their creation. 

Jeff Grant


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