Nowadays, “to want” is stronger than “to give” or “to share”. Akram Khan's work is a perpetual toing and froing between tradition and modernity, contemporary dance and kathak – classical dance from Northern India that consumes the whole body, including the hands, in a game of highly codified signs and postures. Although this Anglo-Bengali constantly reconnects with his roots, he produces intense shows that deal with current-day preconceptions. Gnosis takes its inspiration from his two previous works “Polaroid feet” and “Tarana”, then moves on to highlight the long, epic Hindu poem, the Mahabharata, and more particularly the story of Gandhari, the wife of a blind king who decided to make herself blind to share the “shadows” of his existence with him. Akram Khan makes this myth a reason for supporting and exploring what he names “inner knowledge”, a way for him to emphasize the opposing forces which flow through each of his characters, linking the human to the divinity. “I was fascinated by this idea of a woman who would choose to make herself blind. And, although she could go back on her decision at any time, her honour, her pride and her promise were so strong, that she preferred blindness to the joy of being able to see her children grow up”.
The choreographer-performer, accompanied by five musicians, and with the collaboration of the virtuoso dancer Gauri Sharma Tripathi, invites us to partake in a fascinating solo. A real initiatory journey during which the performer is obliged to watch out for his most inner self or be blinded by the light. “It's just landscapes, images, situations, from which ideas can burst forth and spread, then be transformed by a rather more personal interpretation of the story. A story made of movements”.
By blending a certain form of spirituality with his dance, Akram Khan continues to establish himself as a link between Bengali tradition and our contemporary world.
Source: Maison de la Danse performance program
Akram Khan is one of the most celebrated and respected dance artists of today. In just over 19 years he has created a body of work that has contributed significantly to the arts in the UK and abroad. His reputation has been built on the success of imaginative, highly accessible and relevant productions such as XENOS, Until the Lions, Kaash, iTMOi (in the mind of igor), DESH, Vertical Road, Gnosis and zero degrees.
As an instinctive and natural collaborator, Khan has been a magnet to world-class artists from other cultures and disciplines. His previous collaborators include the National Ballet of China, actress Juliette Binoche, ballerina Sylvie Guillem, choreographers/dancers Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui and Israel Galván, singer Kylie Minogue, indie rock band Florence and the Machine, visual artists Anish Kapoor, Antony Gormley and Tim Yip, writer Hanif Kureishi and composers Steve Reich, Nitin Sawhney, Jocelyn Pook and Ben Frost.
Khan’s work is recognised as being profoundly moving, in which his intelligently crafted storytelling is effortlessly intimate and epic. Described by the Financial Times as an artist “who speaks tremendously of tremendous things”, a highlight of his career was the creation of a section of the London 2012 Olympic Games Opening Ceremony that was received with unanimous acclaim.
As a choreographer, Khan has developed a close collaboration with English National Ballet and its Artistic Director Tamara Rojo. He created the short piece Dust, part of the Lest We Forget programme, which led to an invitation to create his own critically acclaimed version of the iconic romantic ballet Giselle.
Khan has been the recipient of numerous awards throughout his career including the Laurence Olivier Award, the Bessie Award (New York Dance and Performance Award), the prestigious ISPA (International Society for the Performing Arts) Distinguished Artist Award, the Fred and Adele Astaire Award, the Herald Archangel Award at the Edinburgh International Festival, the South Bank Sky Arts Award and eight Critics’ Circle National Dance Awards. Khan was awarded an MBE for services to dance in 2005. He is also an Honorary Graduate of University of London as well as Roehampton and De Montfort Universities, and an Honorary Fellow of Trinity Laban.
Khan is an Associate Artist of Sadler’s Wells and Mountview Academy of Theatre Arts, London and Curve, Leicester.
Source: Akram Khan Company
More information: akramkhancompany.net
Author, filmmaker and video artist Charles Picq (1952-2012) entered working life in the 70s through theatre and photography. A- fter resuming his studies (Maîtrise de Linguistique - Lyon ii, Maîtrise des sciences et Techniques de la Communication - grenoble iii), he then focused on video, first in the field of fine arts at the espace Lyonnais d'art Contemporain (ELAC) and with the group « Frigo », and then in dance.
On creation of the Maison de la Danse in Lyon in 1980, he was asked to undertake a video documentation project that he has continued ever since. During the ‘80s, a decade marked in France by the explosion of contemporary dance and the development of video, he met numerous artists such as andy Degroat, Dominique Bagouet, Carolyn Carlson, régine Chopinot, susanne Linke, Joëlle Bouvier and regis Obadia, Michel Kelemenis. He worked in the creative field with installations and on-stage video, as well as in television with recorded shows, entertainment and documentaries.
His work with Dominique Bagouet (80-90) was a unique encounter. He documents his creativity, assisting with Le Crawl de Lucien and co-directing with his films Tant Mieux, Tant Mieux and 10 anges. in the 90s he became director of video development for the Maison de la Danse and worked, with the support of guy Darmet and his team, in the growing space of theatre video through several initiatives:
- He founded a video library of dance films with free public access. This was a first for France. Continuing the video documentation of theatre performances, he organised their management and storage.
- He promoted the creation of a video-bar and projection room, both dedicated to welcoming school pupils.
- He started «présentations de saisons» in pictures.
- He oversaw the DVD publication of Le tour du monde en 80 danses, a pocket video library produced by the Maison de la Danse for the educational sector.
- He launched the series “scènes d'écran” for television and online. He undertook the video library's digital conversion and created Numeridanse.
His main documentaries are: enchaînement, Planète Bagouet, Montpellier le saut de l'ange, Carolyn Carlson, a woman of many faces, grand ecart, Mama africa, C'est pas facile, Lyon, le pas de deux d'une ville, Le Défilé, Un rêve de cirque.
He has also produced theatre films: Song, Vu d'ici (Carolyn Carlson), Tant Mieux, Tant Mieux, 10 anges, Necesito and So schnell, (Dominique Bagouet), Im bade wannen, Flut and Wandelung (Susanne Linke), Le Cabaret Latin (Karine Saporta), La danse du temps (Régine Chopinot), Nuit Blanche (Abou Lagraa), Le Témoin (Claude Brumachon), Corps est graphique (Käfig), Seule et WMD (Françoise et Dominique Dupuy), La Veillée des abysses (James Thiérrée), Agwa (Mourad Merzouki), Fuenteovejuna (Antonio Gades), Blue Lady revistied (Carolyn Carlson).
Source: Maison de la Danse de Lyon
Artistic direction / Conception : Akram Khan
Choreography : Akram Khan, Gauri Sharma Tripathi
Interpretation : Akram Khan, Fang-Yi Sheu (artiste invitée)
Artistic consultancy / Dramaturgy : Ruth Little
Live music : Faheem Mazhar - chant, Sanju Sahai - tabla, Lucy Railton - violoncelle, Bernhard Schimpelsberger - percussion, Kartik Ragunathan - violon
Lights : Fabiana Piccioli
Costumes : Kei Ito, Kimie Nakano
Sound : Marcus Hyde
Other collaborations : Farooq Chaudhry - producteur, JiaXuan Hon - manager de tournée // Remerciements la compagnie de Kodo (Japon), Yoshie Sunahata, M. et Mme Khan et Shanell Winlock avec le soutien de Jerwood Space pour les répétitions Akram Khan dédicace cette pièce à son guru, Sri Pratap Pawar, ainsi qu'à tous les autres conteurs qui continuent à se battre pour transmettre au public d'aujourd'hui une myriade de merveilleuses histoires.
Production / Coproduction of the choreographic work : Coproduction ADACH (Abu Dhabi Authority for Culture & Heritage), Sadler's Wells (Londres) en association avec The Point, Eastleigh
Production / Coproduction of the video work : Production Akram Khan Company, Maison de la Danse
Duration : 41'
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