Thrilling, innovative and original, the programme Lest We Forget marks another exciting advance for English National Ballet under Tamara Rojo’s leadership. Following last autumn’s production of Le Corsaire, she has now showcased the company further with an evening that included three new works, each by a different choreographer.  Marking the centenary of the outbreak of the Great War, Liam Scarlett, Russell Maliphant and Akram Khan’s contrasting approaches range from the almost literal and ballet-based (Scarlett) through the largely abstract and contemporary (Maliphant) to the intensely personal and culturally eclectic (Khan). (more…)

DESH, Akram Khan Company,  Sadler’s Wells, Monday 8 October 2012

A lantern light wobbles and winks into the blackness, crossing from downstage left.  We can just make out Akram Khan’s figure, and in complete silence he moves centre stage.  The lamplight steadies as he puts it down.  Suddenly, the stillness is shockingly cracked open, splitting the darkness as something crashes onto the stage.  As the lights come up, we see that Khan is striking the ground with a huge hammer, again and again, faster and faster. (more…)

Rising –  Aakash Odedra Company, 26 September, Burton Taylor Studio, Oxford Playhouse

Aakash Odedra is an extraordinary dancer and it is not surprising that other choreographers have chosen to create works on his body.  In Rising we saw a solo by Aakash Odedra himself followed by three others by Akram Khan, Russell Maliphant, and Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui.

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Rising is a unique dance event bringing some of the world’s finest choreographers together on the same bill, each creating a solo work for the amazingly talented Aakash OderaRussell Maliphant (Broken Fall), Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui (Faith and Myth), Akram Khan (London’s 2012 Olympics opening ceremony) and Odera himself use music and Aakash’s background in Kathak and Bharatanatyam to fuse a new style of contemporary dance.

Tuesday 25 to Thursday 27 September, Burton Taylor Studio

Tickets: £12 (discounts £10) can be purchased from the Oxford Playhouse Ticket Office on 01865 305305 or online at www.oxfordplayhouse.com

Yet again a British politician opens his mouth in an unguarded moment and the reality of his ignorance and prejudice about dance is revealed.  This time it is David Cameron who opens his mouth and metaphorically puts his foot in it (I am sure he is neither fit nor flexible enough to do this for real), disparaging the benefits of Indian dance classes in schools.  And this on the very day that Akademi, South Asian Dance UK, performs in Westminster Hall as part of the Arts in Parliament programme of events.  And barely 10 days after the Olympics’ opening ceremony seen by countless millions, where the atmospheric dance episode during “Abide with Me” was lead by one of the UK’s most respected dance artists, a practitioner of the Indian classical dance form Kathak, Akram Khan.  Mr. Cameron wins at least a double gold for tactlessness, succeeding at a stroke in insulting both the Asian community and the dance community.  Or should that be a triple gold, given that this particular day has also seen British teams emerging strongly in the finals of the more ‘artistic’ sports disciplines of synchronised swimming (commentators cooing over the beautiful choreography) and rhythmic gymnastics? (more…)