DOHA: Acclaimed British contemporary dancer Akram Khan is set to delight dance lovers here as they feature in a rare performance in their first-ever stint in Qatar on February 27 and 28 at the Katara Drama Theatre.
Katara in collaboration with the British Council brings Akram Khan’s award-winning dance piece “Vertical Road” after a highly successful world tour. Recently Vertical Road won the Critics’ Circle National Dance Award 2011 for Best Modern Choreography.
The piece which premiered in 2010 was inspired by the notion of vertical ascension – a recurring theme in different religions, art and literature where one’s good deeds on earth raises him up to a spiritual level. It also alludes to the soul’s journey to heaven after death. These themes are taken into a new light artistically with powerful imagery in this contemporary dance performed by eight dancers from Asia, Europe and the Middle East and choreographed by Akram Khan himself.
Said to have strong Middle Eastern influences, the 70-minute landmark piece continues to attract audiences around the world and has left critics spellbound. The Stage considers it ‘hugely inspiring and profoundly disturbing, terrible and beautiful at the same time’ while Sydney Morning Herald calls it ‘a riveting piece of dance’.
With a specially commissioned score by long-term collaborator, composer Nitin Sawhney, Vertical Road draws inspiration from the Sufi tradition and the Persian poet and philosopher Rumi.
Established in 2000, the company has won an array of awards including the Helpmann Award in Australia for ‘Best Choreography in a Dance Work’ in 2007, ‘Excellence in International Dance’ from the International Theatre Institute (2007) and ‘Outstanding Artist (Modern)’, National Dance Award, UK (2005).
Born in London into a family of Bangladeshi origin, Akram Khan began dancing at seven and studied with the renowned kathak dancer and teacher Sri Pratap Pawar. Khan is considered one of the best choreographers of his generation collaborating with some of the world’s known performers and artists including Kylie Minogue, Juliette Binoche, Antony Gormley, Anish Kapoor, Sylvie Guillem and Nitin Sawhney.
He is also working with Academy Award winning director Danny Boyle for the opening ceremony of the London Olympics this year.
Two shows will be staged on February 27 and 28 at 8pm and the audience will have an opportunity to listen to an artist’s talk at 7pm.
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