Summer Nostos FestivalSummer Nostos Festival

Performing Arts

Akram Khan Company - Portraits in Otherness


June 27, 2019, 19.30, Alternative Stage GNO

Akram Khan Company - Portraits in Otherness

The knowledge built, the new roads paved in dance, and the heritage created by Akram Khan's famous team now pass to charismatic, remarkable, up-and-coming choreographers through the Portraits in Otherness platform. Under the supervision of movement genius Akram Khan and the guidance of Farooq Chaudhry, producer of Akram Khan and Company and a close associate of the leading dancer and choreographer, two dynamic solos with impressive international runs and rave reviews are coming to the Summer Nostos Festival. Indonesian dancer and choreographer Rianto presents Medium and Maya Jilan Dong, a member of China’s Bai people, presents Whip.

Without following specific genres or trends in dance, the two choreographers and dancers bring to the stage sounds, experiences, and images that express different dance languages which either they were taught or inherited through the history of their homeland. This is an important moment in the history of Akram Khan Company, as Khan’s philosophy and aesthetics are steered in new directions by these young dancers and choreographers who will become the stars of the world stage in the near future. Chaudhry says involving up-and-coming artists is a must for both him and Khan to reciprocate all the help they themselves received when they began their own careers.

Rianto is an expert at lengger, a dance from central Java, Indonesia, in which the roles between men and women are fluid and constantly alternating. In Medium, the creator returns to the root of the word lengger, which means “a piece of advice that you must remember, that you must pay attention to.” It expressively explores the space between masculinity and femininity, between customs and religious principles, between consciousness control and daydreaming. Medium is Rianto’s universal call to freedom, to embrace our contradictions, to reject doctrines, to reconcile with mysteries. All these are at the heart of the Javanese tradition. Rianto’s movement is masterful and flows from his extensive study of the relationship between the religious, social, and political body.

Whip, Maya Jilan Dong's solo, is based on traditional dances from China’s Bai ethnic minority, to which she belongs. Dong is a riveting performer. Even when she appears on the stage, moving with absolutely controlled slowness while staring in the eyes of those sitting in the front row, she manages to capture the audience. Her brightly colored fingernails shining as she clicks her fingers, her long hair, and even the stick she holds in her hands and which becomes an extension of her body, are all involved in the movement, all choreographed. Her movement attests to its roots as it culminates in a swirling motion. Throughout the solo, Joanne Clara who composed the music for the show and plays the cello, stands across from her.