Vertical Road, Akram Khan Company

Dynamic impulses of flight express the power expressed in these excerpts from, Vertical Road, choreographed by Akram Khan and performed by the Akram Khan Company. The music is composed by Nitin Sawhney.

Akram Kahn is a choreographer of British and Bangladeshi descent who has achieved international acclaim for his work that is known for it’s synthesis of Eastern and Western movement traditions of classical kathak and modern dance. With Vertical Road, Khan worked with eight specially selected performers from Asia, Europe and the Middle East with a commissioned score by Nitin Sawhney. The piece has won critical acclaim winning several awards including the 2011 Distinguished Artist Award by International Society of the Performing Arts and the 2011 winner of the critics circle National Dance Award for Best Modern Choreography.

The Virtical Road is a spiritual journey that is inspired from the Sufi traditions and the works of Rumi the 13 century Persian Poet and Philosopher. In the piece, Khan explores man’s earthly nature, his rituals and the consequences for human actions. The piece takes the form of a meditational spiritual journey from gravity to grace; of man’s search for divine connection; and the struggle of man to move from the physical, western horizontal time space governed by constraints and controls to the Eastern, circular seasonal life/death, and spiritually freeing, vertical time frame.

The piece is visually stunning with costumes that are designed in the elemental Japanese Butoh style. Powder is used to give the sense of timelessness and the movement visualization of energy as it swirls around the dancers stilled in motion. A large silk curtain is used to define the separation between the earthly and divine planes together with lighting that is dynamic, soft and fused with shadows to create a mystic atmosphere.

The dancing is relentless, compelling and exhilarating, derived from beautiful well constructed movement patterns and phrases that tell a story in a non-literal way. Dancers leap out in impulsive flights and merge together in churning vortices of raw energy to the throbbing rhythms in the music.

This is a beautifully moving piece that poetically expresses the Vertical Road described in Rumi’s poem:

‘I died from minerality and became vegetable;
And from vegetativeness I died and became animal.
I died from animality and became man.
Then why fear disappearance through death?
Next time I shall die
Bringing forth wings and feathers like angels;
After that, soaring higher than angels -
What you cannot imagine,
I shall be that.’ (Rumi)
(Taken from Akram Khan Company website)

Enjoy these excerpts of Khans meditative journey to the Vertical Road of Spiritual Enlightenment! And SHARE with friends!


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