Rick Odums embodies modern jazz dance in all of its richness and diversity. Graduate of the High School of Performing Arts of Houston, Texas, this dancer, choreographer; and professor recognizes two important influences of his training: Patsy Swayze (the mother of Patrick Swayze) and Frank Hatchett.
His experience as a dancer has been very eclectic; He danced notably with the Houston Ballet, at the Houston Grand Opera, with the Houston Jazz Ballet (for whom, he created his first choreographic works), and with TUTS (Theater Under The Stars) in a number of musicals such as Little Me, West Side Story, Carousel, GiGi, and others before being noticed by Louis Johnson and becoming a Broadway dancer in Scott Joplin’s opera, Treemonisha.
While continuing his training at the Alvin Ailey American Dance Center and at the Dance Theater of Harlem, he appeared in a number of musicals, working with and assisting renowned choreographers like Frank Hatchett, Tally Beatty, Arthur Faria, Louis Johnson, and Claude Thompson. He completed his first choreography in New York for the tour of the musical Guys and Dolls, interpreted by Debbie Allen, Maurice Hines, and Richard Roundtree.
Artistic director and choreography of the Contemporary Chamber Dance Group in New York for whom he created a number of ballets. He continued teaching as well alongside Frank Hatchett, first at his school in Springfield, Massachusetts and at Henry Le Tang’s, then at JoJo’s Dance Factory who later became Hines-Hines and Hatchett and is today known as Broadway Dance Center.
At the same time, he appeared in cinema and theater as well, and created for television before settling in France definitively in 1980. While pursuing a career as an international dancer, professor, and choreographer (Norwegian Ballet, Opera of Dortmund, and Universities, such as Amsterdam, Oslo, and Moscow), he choreographed for the stars of French Dance (Patrick Dupond, Rudy Bryans), for film (Claude Lelouch’s Les Uns et Les Autres, et L’Unique with Julia Migenes Johnson) with which he shared the stage as a partner with the Palais de Congrès and on tour in France where he danced in and choreographed two television programs (Le Grand Echiquier) that Jacques Chancel dedicated to Julia Migenes, as well as musicals and shows including: La Vie En Bleu, Jésus La Résurrection, On Achève bien les chevaux, et Une Femme Nommée Marie by Robert Hossein, with whom he collaborated on a number of projects.
He produced shows for French and European television, most recently he was the co-choreographer and artistic director with Charly Moser on the program The Dancing Show on channel French 2. He has also created shows and scenes for cabarets like Le Paradis Latin with Jean Marie Rivière, L’Alcazar de Paris, Les Folies Russes, et le Sporting de Monte Carlo, not including numerous conventions for IBM, EDF-GDF…to name a few, along with advertisements for L’Oréal like Color Trophy and Composite Color.
In 2007, he assisted in the Direction of Michel Polnareff’s show in Bercy. He was co Director and Choreographer of musical, Piaf Je t’aime with Charly Moser, produced at the L’Olympia Theatre and Le Cirque d’Hiver, as well as the creation and production of his own gospel show, Jubiliation.
Then in 2009, the Black Dance Project was born as the second part of a CND project “Dance and Resistance”, in collaboration with the Armstrong Jazz Ballet and the French National Center of Dance in Paris. Reconstructing works of three major African American choreographers who were major movers and shakers concerned with and engaged in the social and political role of our art: “Hex et Roots” by Eleo Pomare, “Rainbow ‘Round My Shoulder” by Donald McKayle, and “For Truth” by Ronald K. Brown were all reconstruct for this project.