The Edinburgh International Festival hosts the UK premiere of Aakash Odedra’s SAMSARA next month

Samsara by Aakash Odedra Company is a collaboration between extraordinary dancers, Aakash Odedra and Hu Shenyuan, two of the world’s finest dance exponents from their home countries of India and China.

Two years after its world premiere in Melbourne in March 2020 and the world locked down, Samsara has its UK premiere at the Lyceum Theater from August 18-20 as part of the Edinburgh International Festivalthe company’s premiere at the Festival.

Aakash Odedra has captured worldwide attention for his virtuoso Kathak performances and contemporary choreography. Hu Shenyuan, one of the outstanding dancers of his generation in China, was the standout performer in Yang Liping’s Under Siege in 2016 – when Odedra first saw him and decided he wanted to work with him . The couple met in Shanghai in 2017 and, with no common spoken language, went on to create Samsara, a powerful story of cultural exchange and shared philosophy.

Samsara tells the story of the legendary pilgrimage to India undertaken by the monk Xuanzang returning to China with the central treatises of Buddhist philosophy. It takes place in a desert landscape populated by strange human statues, created by scenographer Tina Tzoka. Yaron Abulafia’s lighting evokes an imaginary world where the two dancers, Odedra and Shenyuan, come together in virtuoso duets with exquisite motifs of challenge, reflection and exchange. Mongolian throat singing and traditional Chinese percussion are part of the powerful score, specially commissioned from regular Odedra collaborator Nicki Wells. Samsara is directed by Aakash Odedra and dramaturgy is by Lou Cope.

Samsara was made possible through the generous support of the Bagri Foundation, a family foundation dedicated to promoting Asian arts and culture. Aiming to challenge, engage and inspire, it gives artists and experts from across Asia, or those inspired by the continent, broader visibility on the global stage and supports a diverse program of film, visual arts, music , dance, literature, courses and conferences. .

Darcy J. Skinner