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Edinburgh International Festival Hosts UK Premiere of Aakash Odedra Company's SAMSARA Next Month

Performances run Thursday 18 to Saturday 20 August.

Edinburgh International Festival Hosts UK Premiere of Aakash Odedra Company's SAMSARA Next Month

Aakash Odedra Company's Samsara is a collaboration between the extraordinary dancers, Aakash Odedra and Hu Shenyuan, two of the world's finest exponents of dance from their countries of origin, 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 Theatre from 18 to 20 August as part of the Edinburgh International Festival, the company's debut at the Festival.

Aakash Odedra has attracted global attention for his virtuoso Kathak performances and his 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 pair met in Shanghai in 2017 and, with no mutual 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 tracts of Buddhist philosophy. It takes place in a desert landscape peopled with eerie human statues, created by set designer, Tina Tzoka. Yaron Abulafia's lighting conjures an imaginary world where the two dancers, Odedra and Shenyuan, come together in exquisitely-patterned virtuoso duets of challenge, reflection and exchange. Mongolian throat singing and traditional Chinese percussion are part of the powerful score, specially commissioned from Odedra's regular collaborator, Nicki Wells. Samsara is directed by Aakash Odedra and dramaturgy is by Lou Cope.

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

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