Arts & Culture

Aakash Odedra returns to The Arts Center at NYU Abu Dhabi for a virtual residency.

The award-winning UK-based contemporary dancer and choreographer will present an array of artistic events as part of The Arts Center’s sixth season.

The Arts Center at NYU Abu Dhabi (NYUAD) continues to explore innovative ways of showcasing performing arts by hosting a virtual residency by Aakash Odedra. The award-winning contemporary dancer and choreographer will screen two performances followed by live online Q&As with the artist: Murmur 2.0 on 11 November and #JeSuis on 12 November. 

The screened performance of Murmur 2.0, filmed at The Place in London, marks a welcome return for the show, which was first presented as part of The Arts Center’s inaugural season in February 2016. A spectacular solo performance featuring an interactive video that addresses Odedra’s personal experience as a person with dyslexia, the show has been described as a nexus of light, sound, and movement that comes from the heart. During Odedra’s first visit to The Arts Center with this piece, the post-show conversations focused on the importance of destigmatizing learning disabilities and neurodivergence, while celebrating alternative forms of intelligence.

Co-commissioned by The Arts Center, #JeSuis had its world premiere in The Black Box at The Arts Center in February 2018. The powerfully gripping dance-theatre work explores a life in conflict, developed with a company of dancers that Aakash Odedra met in Turkey. The piece, which was also the focus of an NYUAD J-Term class on dance and dramaturgy called “How Movement Made Meaning,” explores individuals struggling to find their voice in the stand against oppression, and was born from the belief that our ability to speak out and stand together will see us through to brighter times.

Furthering the Arts Center’s mission to bridge the gap between audience and artist, the Arts Chat, presented in partnership with the Career Development Center at NYUAD titled “Social Impact and Dance,” Odedra will share his thoughts on how he finds empowerment in the arts, using the language of dance to express his ideas and emotions. 

Rounding out the series of events, in the Technique Workshops with Aakash Odedra Odedra will personally guide participants through excerpts of choreography from Murmur 2.0 and #JeSuis. Odedra will further enrich the performance by explaining how he applies his personal life experiences to the choreography, sharing the intricacies of how movement relates to the lived experiences of the dancers’ strangulation and freedom of expression.

Born in the UK, Odedra has performed over 300 full-length performances in 40 countries. As a choreographer, he has created pieces for Her Majesty The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations and the closing of the London Cultural Olympiad. He formed The Aakash Odedra Company in 2011 to further develop his choreographic work, and as a vehicle to commission solos. 

Commenting on the forthcoming series of events, Aakash Odedra said: “This has been a new experience for me as I am not familiar with teaching online. Through this process, I feel like I have gained and learned a lot in myself. In a way, it is a two-way stream for me where I was teaching, but I was also learning as well as you have to find a different way of conveying energy as the person is not in front of you but in their own living room or hall of residents.

I think being able to transport yourself into all of these individual spaces was a very interesting experience, virtually, being able to connect to people in a more unorthodox manner has also been an experience that I think I’ll be able to treasure. All of these experiences that I’ve had with the university, the creation of my previous works, the premiering of one of my works for the first time and being able to do this virtual residency are experiences that I consider big milestones in my career and my life.”

GO: Visit: www.nyuad-artscenter.org for more information.

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David Tapley - Editor
Dubai-based editor for one of the region’s most fiercely local lifestyle publications across Abu Dhabi, Bahrain, Dubai and Qatar. Specialised in food, hospitality, arts, culture, and travel-related content.

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