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Battling Dyslexia With Interactive Visuals, Lights, Sounds, and Dance

It took Aakash Odedra 21 years to spell his name correctly, and his struggle with the learning disability has been translated into the dance spectacle, "Murmur."

by Johnny Magdaleno
May 5 2014, 7:00pm

When dyslexia stymies your life, what do you do? Do you internalize it as an unchangeable stigma, or compensate by finding new vessels of communication? For dancer Aakash Odedra, who battled with dyslexia for most of his youth, the answer is the latter. But it took some time to figure out just what that new vessel would be.

In his newest production, Murmur, Odedra explores this struggle in a one-man performance that blends dance, interactive visuals, sounds, and light. It was created alongside choreographer Lewis Major and technologists over at Ars Electronica’s Futurelab, and premieres May 6 at DancexChange in the UK, as part of the International Dance Festival Birmingham 2014.

“It took 21 years for [Odedra] to spell his name correctly,” says a project description over at Ars Electronica’s blog. “He ultimately discovered dance as the mode of expression that’s right for him[...] In a world of written words, it gave him the secure footing he needed.”

Major agrees, noting in an interview with Ars Electronica that bridging choreography with visual technologies may be the most apt method of exploring the learning disability. “It’s not just about putting some pretty images on a dance piece. The dance is trying to say something and challenge people’s ideas and concepts [of dyslexia].”

“We are trying to use the technology to make what we say louder and make it bigger.”

Check out the trailer below, and follow Aakash Odedra’s work over at his website.

All images courtesy of Sean Goldhtorpe


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learning disabilities
interactive dance
Aakash Odedra
International Dance Festival Birmingham