in 2011, Desh met with immediate success around the world. Building on that, he created a version for children aged 7+ and their families, with the help of the theatre director Sue Buckmaster. Chotto Desh is a danced story which follows an adult delving back into his childhood memories. It explores the experiences of a child raised in the two radically different societies of Bangladesh and Britain. Beyond the coming-of-age story, it is an immersive show mixing different registers of dance, words, mime and video. It deftly plays with computer-generated images as the dancer climbs to the treetops, plays with an elephant and butterflies, or sets sail on a magical ship. Akram Khan has an unmatched talent for creating before our very eyes a world full of marvels, tempting us to follow him on a fantastical journey.
Source: Biennale de la Danse
Artistic Direction and Original Choreography Akram Khan
Direction and Adaptation Sue Buckmaster (Theatre-Rites)
Music Composition Jocelyn Pook
Lighting Design Guy Hoare
Stories imagined by Karthika Naïr and Akram Khan
The grandmother’s fable in Chotto Desh is taken from the book The Honey Hunter
Written by Karthika Naïr, Sue Buckmaster and Akram Khan
Assistant Choreographer Jose Agudo
Grandmother’s voice Leesa Gazi
Jui’s voice Sreya Andrisha Gazi
Dancers Dennis Alamanos or Nicolas Ricchini
Producer Claire Cunningham on behalf of AKCT
Original Visual Design Tim Yip
Original Visual Animation created by Yeast Culture
Original Costume Supervisor Kimie Nakano
Sound Designer and AV Engineer Alex Stein
Music Engineer Steve Parr
Costume Reconstruction Advisor Martina Trottmann
Technical Producer Sander Loonen (Arp Theatre)
Technical Manager Ed Yetton
Rehearsal Director Amy Butler
Stage Manager Dean Sudron
‘Bleeding Soles’ lyrics written by Leesa Gazi
Singers Melanie Pappenheim, Sohini Alam, Jocelyn Pook (voice/viola/piano), Tanja Tzarovska, Jeremy Schonfield
Video production Maison de la Danse
Video direction Fabien Plasson
Akram Khan is a UK-born dancer of Bangladeshi descent. After training with Sri Pratap Pawar in kathak (the traditional dance of northern India), he was handed
his first role aged 13 in « Mahâbhârata », a piece by Peter Brook that made a big impression. From the 1990s onwards, he mixed contemporary dance with this traditional art in « Polaroid Feet » (2001), « Ronin » (2003) and « Third Catalogu »e (2005). During the same period he studied at P.A.R.T.S., the Brussels school run by Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker.
Akram Khan quickly became a prominent figure on the global choreography scene, notably when he wrote the duet « zero degrees » (2005) with Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui. He also danced with Sylvie Guillem in « Sacred Monsters » and Juliette Binoche in the duet « IN-I »; and wrote « Bahok » (2008) for the National Ballet of China.
Taking a break from the stage, and erasing frontiers between dance genres, Akram Khan created most of the choreography for Kylie Minogue’s 2006 tour. In 2009 he conceived the kathak solo « Gnosis » for Svapnagata, a festival of Indian dance and music of which he is artistic director.
In 2012 he created the choreography section of the London Olympics’ opening ceremony.
A great performer, he directed himself in the autobiographical solo « Desh » (2011), meaning “earth”, in which he goes back to his roots. « Desh » met with immediate
success around the world. Building on that, he created a version for children aged 7+ and their families, « Chotto Desh », with the help of the theatre director Sue Buckmaster.
« Torokaka » (2014), created with Israel Galván, was the meeting of two dancers at the acme of their art, a joust between Indian and Spanish cultures. In 2016 Khan staged « Until the Lions », inspired by a passage in Karthika Naïr’s book which revisits key episodes of sacred Indian epic Mahâbhârata.
Source : 17th Biennale de la danse 2016 press kit