Asian Music and Dance

Kathak: Yuko Inoue and Aakash Odedra

Akram Khan’s curated double bill of Aakash Odedra and Yuko Inoue could be seen as a Thanksgiving feast with generous portions of kathak delights prepared by the avant-garde Kumudini Lakhia. There can be no doubt that these two dancers within their form are steadfast with splendour.

Inoue moves with humility and is selfless in every moment. She exudes femininity and feminism with grace and joy.

In Teental her footwork was grounded and textured just as her musical accompaniment, and in their togetherness there was orchestral ecstasy of rhythm and tonality. Inoue’s sensual ghat even softened the over-exposed lighting.

Haqua-No based on a Japanese folk tale through abhinaya had Emi Watanabe stirring a godly eeriness on the Japanese flute – and with Inoue’s presence the romantic melancholy was breathtaking. This dancer aptly pours her pained love with truth in this tragic story; and holds her audience’s heart tenderly as Picasso’s Child with a Dove.

Odedra is a gazelle that has taken flight and his landings took all leaps and bounds just as a pony with all its tricks. Spectacular he certainly is, but sadly, this performance took on the attitude of unmitigated showmanship.

His attempt to address Mother Nature conceptually with Mati–Re was brave, however his searching for an earthly journey is comfortably literal and predictable. Odedra switches on-and-off and in-and-out to supportive padhant and lyrics with physical mode swings within a flat choreographic structure.

Khan has said that this young dancer reminds him of the late Michael Jackson – Odedra is bad and smooth, quick and slick but he should be aware not to fall into the trap of entertaining for the approval of the masses.



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