Aakash Odedra
Aditi Mangaldas

Aakash Odedra facing a ray of light on stage, in a blue tunic.
© Angela Grabowska
Aakash Odedra, Aditi Mangaldas

In 2024, Dance Reflections by Van Cleef & Arpels is supporting The Arts Center at NYUAD for the presentation of Mehek by Aakash Odedra and Aditi Mangaldas.

Mehek is a captivating contemporary dance performance that centers around a mature woman and a younger man. In this mesmerizing work, the stage transforms into a canvas where rhythmic tales of desire unfold, entwined with the elements of nature. The mirrors, akin to the calming waters of the sea, reflect the duality of their love story—the tranquil surface and the tumultuous waves beneath. Through these mirrors, the performance reveals that love is not only a personal journey within oneself but also a profound connection and exploration through the other.

Derived from the Hindi word for fragrance, the title Mehek alludes to the enduring power of memory and the essence of love itself. Aditi Mangaldas, dancing the first ever duet of her 50-year career, and Aakash Odedra weave a narrative that celebrates love in all its forms: raw, authentic, and infinitely resonant. The performers are two world-class Kathak dancers, and are the great South Asian dancers of their respective generations.

about the artists

Portrait of Aakash Odedra

Aakash Odedra

Aakash was born in Birmingham and trained in the classical Indian dance styles of Kathak and Bharatanatyam. In 2009, Aakash performed at the Svapngata Festival in London, curated by Akram Khan. From then, Aakash developed a more contemporary approach to movement. His work is the result of a unique synthesis with contemporary dance, both in his choreography and his creations with other choreographers. Aakash formed the Aakash Odedra Company in 2011 as a vehicle for commissioning solos and for Aakash to develop his own choreographic work.

Photo © Angela Grabowska

Portrait of Aditi Mangaldas

Aditi Mangaldas

Aditi Mangaldas is a leading dancer and choreographer in the classical Indian dance form of Kathak. With extensive training under the leading gurus of Kathak, Shrimati Kumudini Lakhia and late Pundit Birju Maharaj, Aditi is widely celebrated for the startling richness and intricacy of her dance and choreography. She has created and performed works in over 20 countries across the world in recent years. As well as dancing and choreographing classical productions, she has broken new ground by using her knowledge and experience of Kathak as a springboard to evolve a contemporary dance vocabulary, infused with the spirit of the classical. Considered a maverick in India, she has consistently broken ground, unafraid to confront social and present-day concerns. Aditi has been dancing professionally for over 50 years.