Gigs, dance, art

May 12th, 2010: Akram Khan – Gnosis


This show displayed both sides of Akram Khan‘s work, Kathak in the first part and contemporary dance in the second. Combined with his return to this smaller venue, this felt like a nice way to look at what he’s done these past few years, and ended with a look at what might be coming.

I hadn’t seen him perform a Kathak show in years, but the reprise of Polaroid Feet reminded of the way his explanations really helped me to like Indian classical dance. He didn’t talk this time, but I remembered his words quite clearly. The second piece, Tarana, was faster on average, but shared a lot with the first one, with a focus on the upper body, especially arms. There was the precise extending of the arms, at an angle or level, and this controlled energy always ready to explode into a short burst of speed. The mic stand came on stage for a rhythmic part focused on footwork and phrases introduced by Akram Khan and the tabla replies. Unplugged, the name of this piece, also included instrumental parts without dance, and one of these was just great, with just tabla and Japanese drums. At times their sounds merged so that the taiko rang first but then the ringing of the tabla took over. A very nice effect.

After a short intermission, they came back for the contemporary dance part of the show, Gnosis. Yoshie Sunahata wasn’t drumming anymore but dancing. Though it wasn’t that clear cut, as after a slow part her movements were just like she was drumming, exactly the way I remember from Kodo performances — from what Akram Khan said when he introduced her, I think she’s from that ensemble. He joined he at that time, then went whirling around the stage before collapsing. Then the show went more narrative with a blindness theme, but still with nice dance moments — my favorite involved hands — and some potent images — like her walking on him. When she left the stage the light went red and Akram Khan reused a fast hand movement like around a ball I remembered from his previous show. He was the only dancer for the rest of the show, but Yoshie Sunahata came back singing. And she has a very nice voice. She played, danced, acted and sang, and pretty much stole the show as far as I’m concerned.

I hope there’s more coming from that pair, this show was so promising but also short. The use of material from earlier shows was in keeping with the theme of the show, but I’m sure there could be much more. Yoshie Sunahata is talented, and somehow the taiko feels a right fit with Akram Khan’s dance.

May 16, 2010 - Posted by | Dance | ,

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