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A dancer standing centre stage with other dances around him.

Dance City's Artistic Director & CEO Anand Bhatt, on collaborating with Northern Stage

Dance City is delighted to be working with Northern Stage on co-presenting companies onto Stage One for the first time. Dance City’s role as a regional dance agency includes supporting, promoting and advocating for the highest quality of dance, regardless of where it happens in the North East.

Humanhood and Aakash Odedra Company are two incredibly exciting dance companies which have presented at Dance City – to an incredible audience response. Humanhood presented Torus and Zero in previous seasons. Aakash Odedra Company presented Rising, Murmur/Inked and Echoes/I Imagine. These works have caught the attention of the global dance world, and their international success has come with many accolades. I should declare an interest here, that I used to work for Aakash Odedra Company, and when I was based in the Midlands, I had followed the work of Humanhood.

I joined Dance City at the height of the pandemic in 2020. It was the time that George Floyd was murdered in the USA, the Black Lives Matter movement gaining attention and the cultural sector’s response to it. Cultural institutions were called on to doing things differently. To enable more voices into our spaces and tell their stories. Natalie Ibu joined Northern Stage just a few months after I joined Dance City. In the things I heard Natalie say in talks and discussion, and watching the changes being made on the ground, I found openness at Northern Stage. An openness to ideas, where they were coming from, the potential they had.

Humanhood and Aakash Odedra Company’s current productions were now physically too big for Dance City’s stage. The technical needs for their performances had outgrown what we could deliver in our Newcastle dance house. Rather than just saying – sorry it’s not for us, I was keen that our North East audiences continued to access the incredible work they did. So I reached out to the Northern Stage team with a slightly unorthodox yet exciting way to work with a partner to provide touring companies a journey in their development.

Humanhood and Aakash Odedra Company are both companies led by artists from the global majority. Their story telling, incredible dance quality and production values are on par with the more established UK mid-scale touring dance companies.

What should I expect if I book tickets for Humanhood’s Infinite or Aakash Odedra Company’s Samsara?

Humanhood’s world is poetic and meditative. The ensemble will take you through a journey that transcends the senses into a journey which captivates the soul. It is beautifully danced with a soundscape which evokes being in a higher consciousness. Their dancing stimulates inner vibrations to feel awakened.

Samsara is inspired by the Chinese epic novel Journey to the West. It brings together two world-class virtuoso dancers from Kathak and Chinese folk with a live music trio to tell a story of searching for truth over multiple lifetimes. Featuring Mongolian throat singing, percussion and European contemporary vocals, Samsara brings influences of the world into an exquisite piece of dance.

I hope this is one of many creative ventures between Northern Stage and Dance City.

Kind regards

Anand Bhatt

Artistic Director & CEO  – Dance City