Aakash Odedra BEM, recognised as one of the most talented British South Asian choreographers and dancers, will premier his newest show in his hometown of Leicester as part of The Spark Festival.
Little Murmur is Odedra’s latest work, aimed at children ages 7+ and based on the true story of his own struggle with letters and words after his diagnosis with dyslexia at a young age.
Finding himself defined by his learning difficulties rather than his abilities, dance became Odedra’s mode of expression – a theme he has previously explored in his hugely moving show Murmur. This new piece of dance theatre is an honest conversation about the trials and tribulations of seeing things differently, and it is the first work from the company that has been specially adapted for young audiences and their families.
Combining illustration and technology with dance and humour, Little Murmur explores the warped and exaggerated realities of living in a world you struggle to process, taking the audience on a heartfelt journey of facing challenges and overcoming the odds.
The mesmerising show will premiere at schools in Leicester before a public performance at Belgrave Library on Saturday 12 February 2022. The show will then embark on a UK tour of theatres and arts centres.
“The piece is about struggle and being able to find your own identity through struggle,” said Aakash, who experienced an awakening in his own identity at age 21 when he realised, he had misspelt his own name his entire life. “You don’t need to be dyslexic to understand the show – everyone goes through their own challenges and can feel like they are different. It’s about allowing people to become more open to difference and different ways of thinking.”
“I feel it’s really important to be able to engage with the younger generation because they are our future. The piece shows them that different is okay, it is beautiful, and it should be celebrated.”
The Spark Festival
The Spark Festival for children began in 2003, with a focus on championing children’s arts and creating opportunities to engage young audiences with the performing arts. Work presented during the festival aims to highlight the complexities of being a child through exceptional artistic performance.
Trina Haldar at The Spark Festival commented: “We are proud to be working with the Aakash Odedra Company and to be hosting the premier of Little Murmur during The Spark Festival. In life, especially over the last 18 months, we have all faced struggles regardless of age. Children especially have suffered from disruption in the face of this unknown challenge – that’s what makes Little Murmur feel so relevant and timely.”
“We’re very much looking forward to The Spark Festival 2022. We have designed a programme that will ignite imaginations, enable children to feel reflected in the performances they watch and give families the opportunity to enjoy high quality artistic performances together.”
Other highlights of the festival include Mmm Ahh Whoosh, a brand-new immersive gig by Mellow Baku; a performance by Don Kipper, a funky multi-award-winning band who take audiences on musical adventure around Eastern Europe and the Mediterranean; and Josephine, a vibrantly stylish performance about Josephine Baker – dancer, actor, activist, campaigner, spy and mother to the multicultural Rainbow Tribe.
View the full programme on The Spark Festival website: www.thesparkarts.co.uk
The Festival Programme
The festival programme includes professional performances of dance, theatre and music in schools and in venues, hands on workshops in the creative arts and free family drop-in activities in city venues, community centres and libraries.
Full programme: www.thesparkarts.co.uk
Complementing these activities are school projects, giving pupils the opportunity to collaborate and perform with world class artists. Schools can book performances to take place at their schools, full details here: The Spark Arts for Children – At Your School.
The Spark have been working with four artists in the 2022 programme as part of a movement to address the lack of diversity in performances for young audiences. Through the Vital Spark project, we seek to ensure young people feel represented and reflected in the arts they experience, both in terms of the stories being told and the performers who tell those stories.
Little Murmur will tour the UK in February and March 2022
Spark Festival, Leicester, 12 Feb
artsdepot, London 16 Feb
Imagine Festival Southbank Centre, London 17 Feb
Feb Fest, Luton, 18 Feb
Midlands Arts Centre, Birmingham, 20 Feb
Derby Theatre, Derby, 22 Feb
Unity Theatre, Liverpool, 24 Feb
The Egg, Bath, 26 & 27 Feb
Gulbenkian, Canterbury, 5 March
The Quarterhouse, Folkestone, 6 March
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