A season of contemporary dance from the United Kingdom titled Impulse was presented by the British Council. Aakash Odedra, a UK-based South Asian dancer, mesmerized the audience with the Rising at the G.D. Birla Sabhaghar on November 6. Rising was a harmony of power, passion, technique and creativity. It was a perfect blend of skill, technology and the knowledge required to showcase an art form where the dancer, the choreographer, the musician and the set and light designers had only one aim — a spectacular presentation. From the very first movement of the evening, in a Kathak presentation choreographed by Odedra himself, it was established that this dancer, who is a student of Akram Khan, was different, both in his thinking and in his understanding of the art form. He embraced contemporary modes of performance.
In the Shadow of Man was choreographed by Akram Khan. It started in near darkness — Michael Hulls’ light design was brilliant — and the careful focus was on Odedra’s bony back which was towards the audience. He danced just using flexible yet controlled shoulder movements. These gripping movements evoked creatures that crawled, hopped, rolled and spun. Watching them created a feeling of unease.
The most memorable performance was Cut, which was choreographed by Russell Maliphant. The performance had a science fiction-like corridor of light where Odedra moved around seamlessly. The hands played an important role; the dancer’s lightning-like movements were breathtaking. The sequence of turns that sliced right through the beams of light from one side of the stage to the other was scintillating. The last performance, Constellation, had stunning choreography by Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui. Odedra performed amid hanging light bulbs with a smooth, fluid style to capture the depth and energy of the galaxy. His performance proved that dancing skills must be accentuated with great design to be exceptional.
The British Council also brought the Scottish Dance Theatre — Scotland’s leading contemporary dance company — to Kalamandir on November 2. The show began with Drift which was choreographed by James Wilton. This powerful duet explored the changing emotions in relationships. Dog was choreographed by Hofesh Shechter. Luxuria had Liv Lorent’s award-winning choreography. It was sensual and explored desire and the human search for fulfilment. The music rhythmically matched the dance movements. The swirling, rising and falling was energetic.