A graduate of the High School of Performing and Visual Arts in Houston,Texas, Rick recognizes Patsy Swayze and Frank Hatchett as the choreographers and teachers who have been the most influencial throughout his artistic development and his professional and very eclectic career. Dancing from the Houston Grand Opera and the Houston Ballet to the Houston Jazz Ballet Company with whom he began his choreographic career, he was hired by Louis Johnson to dance on Broadway in the Scott Joplin Opera Treemonisha.
He danced in several major Broadway and off Broadway productions. He assisted and worked with such choreographers as Talley Beatty, Arthur Faria, Louis Johnson, and Claude Thompson before establishing himself as a young choreographic force after choreographing the National Broadway Touring Company of the all black version of Guys and Dolls, featuring Debbie Allen and Maurice Hines. Which led to him being named Artistic Director of the Contemporary Chambre Dance Group for whom he created nine ballets, simultaneously working on several films and theatre productions before moving to Paris, France, where he went originally to stage a show for Vivian Reed, at the time star of the Broadway musical Bubblin’Brown Sugar, for l’Espace Cardin. Falling in love with France and the French culture, he chose to stay there and continued his career creating and staging shows for several of France major cabarets, televisions shows, such films as Claude Lelouche The Ins and the Outs or The Unique avec Julia Migenes.
More recently he choreographed musical comedies directed by Robert Hossein such as la vie en bleu et Jesus. He also created choreographies for major international ballet stars such as Patrick Dupont and Rudy Bryans and outside of France, choreographed ballets for the National Ballet in Norway, for the Dortmund Opera in Germany, and several companies in Nederlands, and Germany and recently Russia. Extremely sensitive to the situation of jazz dance in France, it is here that Rick chose to found his company "les ballets jazz Rick Odums" in 1983 and his school for the formation of professional dancers and teachers, which eventually has become a government accredited school, working in close relationship with the Alvin Ailey American Dance Center, the University of Amsterdam, and the Canon School in St Petersbourg, Russia.
He created "les jeunes ballets jazz", a second company founded in the school to permit promising young artists to have their first professional experience in Modern Jazz Dance.