Kaash (2002), which means ‘if only’ in Hindi, takes as its inspiration from the Hindu god Shiva and his three fundamental attributes: cosmic violence, meditation and the eternal cycle of creation and destruction.
Akram Khan | Anish Kapoor | Nitin Sawnhey
Collaboration between Khan, Kapoor and Sawnhey has been a feature of several dance works, including In-I and Vertical Road. Anish Kapoor contributes the backdrop, a huge dark rectangle of Rothko-esque blackness that draws all light into it. Composer Nitin Sawhney provides the score, blending cataclysmic percussion into the verbal rhythms and traditional tabla that leave a classical Indian mark on even Khan’s more contemporary works.
The trademarks of Khan’s Kathak style are very much present in Kaash, though he himself will not be part of the international cast of 5 appearing on stage this time. Scything arms, sharp, angular hands and extremely precise turns are laced into more contemporary shapes and group patterns.
The piece begins with a single, unmoving dancer against that black-hole backdrop. Even as others dance towards him in combative steps, he remains still. When the group dances as one, they are so perfectly drilled into unison they give a military impression of a group far larger than they are, responding with knife sharp step to the verbal ‘ta ki ta’ inflections of the music. Lighting by Aideen Malone cloaks all in primary red and blue, then draws a series of boxes and grids in light for the dancers to invade and escape.
Some critics found a middle section of solos a dip in energy, as a voice-over asks a series of ‘what if?’ questions. But then patterns form and reform, and it’s hard not to get caught up in the huge cosmic bangs of the percussive score.
Akram Khan: contemporary dance shows, London 2016
2016 offers plenty of chances to see the breadth of Akram Khan’s work: his passion for his own heritage in Until the Lions, a retelling of the Mahabharata; his disregard for traditional boundaries in a brand new Giselle, and in Kaash, a collaborative nature that can infuse diverse talents into one. See them all if you can.
|What||Akram Khan: Kaash, Sadler’s Wells|
|Where||Sadler's Wells, Rosebery Avenue, London, EC1R 4TN | MAP|
|Nearest tube||Angel (underground)|
03 Mar 16 – 05 Mar 16, 7:30 PM – 9:30 PM
|Website||Click here to book via Sadler's Wells|