Award-winning dance performance
Aakash Odedra and the Futurelab at the International Dance Festival Birmingham
(Linz / Birmingham, May 7, 2014) Renowned dancer Aakash Odedra, choreographer Lewis Major and the Ars Electronica Futurelab have been working together for the past year on an extraordinary dance performance that utilizes leading-edge media technology. Initial versions of this work have already garnered rave reviews at the 2013 Ars Electronica Festival and Edinburgh Dance Edition 2014. The latest triumph came only a few weeks ago when Aakash Odedra’s presentation to the distinguished British Arts Council of this dance performance developed in collaboration with the Futurelab was rewarded with a development grant. This funding will make it possible to carry on the creative work and take it to the next level. The next destination on this journey Aakash Odedra and the Futurelab are taking together was the International Dance Festival Birmingham, where the dance performance Murmur received standing ovations on May 6.
Dyslexia as driving force
Aakash Odedra’s dyslexia is the thematic point of departure of his collaboration with the Futurelab. In the form of a dance performance, he is working through the experiences and emotions connected with this disorder and, at the same time, communicating to other people what it’s like. And this is precisely what the Ars Electronica Futurelab’s deployment of high-tech equipment aims to accomplish in a way that is as vivid as it is innovative. The objective has been to impart a new quality to the process of exchange and thereby to create an intimate relationship between the dancer on the stage and the people in the audience.
Initially trained in classical Indian dance styles, Akash Odedra is one of the hottest rising stars of British dance. 2011 saw Aakash working with renowned choreographers Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui, Russell Maliphant, as well as his mentor, Akram Khan. His own choreographies range from large-scale classical evenings to contemporary works and opera. Akash has been honored with numerous awards and bursaries, including a development grant by Arts Council England, the two-year choreographic bursary from Akademi and, most recently, the Danza&Danza Award for best new interpretation in Italy. In addition to choreographing a work for Queen Elisabeth II’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations and the closing ceremonies of the Olympic Games in London, Aakash is also working with the Apollo Theater in New York on a show about the life and work of James Brown.
Ars Electronica Futurelab
The Ars Electronica Futurelab is one of the five divisions of Ars Electronica Linz GmbH, a wholly-owned subsidiary of the City of Linz. It has been exploring the future at the nexus of art, technology and society since it was founded in 1996. The laboratory’s staff includes experts in a wide array of fields. The way they carry out assignments is characterized, above all, by transdisciplinarity and international networking. The essence of this approach is ongoing collaboration with artists and scientists worldwide as well as the regular presence of artists-in-residence in Linz. The spectrum of services the Ars Electronica Futurelab delivers is based on expertise and skills developed over many years in such fields as radical innovation, media art, architecture, design, interactive exhibitions, virtual reality and real-time graphics.