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 Post subject: Re: Akram Khan 2000-2003
PostPosted: Fri Sep 12, 2003 10:30 am 
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Philadelphia Inquirer -

Dance performance 'Kaash' is swift, spiritual, sensational
By Merilyn Jackson
For The Inquirer

Four dances inhabit my pantheon of choreography: Merce Cunningham's Sounddance and Biped, to music by John Cage and Gavin Bryars, respectively; Lucinda Childs' Concerto, to music by Henryk Gorecki; and Rodrigo Pederneiras' Seven or Eight Pieces for a Ballet, music by Philip Glass.

They will have to make room for Akram Khan's Kaash, to music by Nitin Sawney and John Oswald.

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<small>[ 19 September 2003, 12:06 AM: Message edited by: Azlan ]</small>


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 Post subject: Re: Akram Khan 2000-2003
PostPosted: Fri Sep 12, 2003 12:43 pm 
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Location: San Francisco, CA
Wow, I can't wait to see himhere in the Bay area next week!


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 Post subject: Re: Akram Khan 2000-2003
PostPosted: Fri Sep 12, 2003 2:09 pm 
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Joined: Fri Oct 22, 1999 11:01 pm
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Location: SF Bay Area
Next week?


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 Post subject: Re: Akram Khan 2000-2003
PostPosted: Fri Sep 12, 2003 4:01 pm 
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Location: London, England; Tallinn, Estonia
"Kaash" is a very strong work. Do catch it if you can.


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 Post subject: Re: Akram Khan 2000-2003
PostPosted: Fri Sep 12, 2003 10:55 pm 
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Location: SF Bay Area
Am already spreading the gospel.


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 Post subject: Re: Akram Khan 2000-2003
PostPosted: Sat Sep 13, 2003 9:41 am 
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The Philadelphia Inquirer published a correction today that David Tudor is the composer in Cunningham's "Sounddance."


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 Post subject: Re: Akram Khan 2000-2003
PostPosted: Thu Sep 18, 2003 10:31 pm 
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Location: SF Bay Area
I can see why Akram Khan's "Kaash" received so much acclaim internationally and why it sold out in almost every venue. Every venue that is but San Francisco.

There is much diversity here in the San Francisco Bay Area. Not only is there a strong international flavor but local ethnic dance companies are some of the oldest in the area. Older event than most ballet or modern dance companies.

What we saw on stage tonight beared too much resemblance to works we already see in Northern California on a regular basis. Oh, don't get me wrong. "Kaash" is indeed a strong work, especially in showcasing Khan's ability to push Kathak to the point that it no longer resembles Classical Kathak while still rooted in the artform, not unlike how William Forythe pushes the boundaries of Classical Ballet.

The problem is it has the feel of "We have seen it all before" that conflicted with expectations that perhaps ran too high in some quarters.

It will be interesting to see how the local reviewers take to this work. More importantly, I am curious as to what the audience thought.


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 Post subject: Re: Akram Khan 2000-2003
PostPosted: Thu Sep 18, 2003 11:46 pm 
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Location: London/New York
I was very interested in Azlan's views on Akram Khan as, in some ways, they coincide with mine. I was bullied in going to see him in London by my partner who is an active (classical) dancer whose interest in modern dance is normally inclined to be professional rather than personal. But she raved about Akram Khan and dragged me along to see him.
I have to admit that I found his work wonderful in many ways and I enjoyed myself more than I had expected. But I left with a nagging feeling that it was all a trifle derivative and that his adaption of a classical Indian dance form vaguely unsatisfying.
Up until reading Azlan's posting, I thought I was in a minority of one, as all my partner's ballet world friends laud him to the skies. I still think that his work is interesting and enjoyable but maybe not as important nor ground-breaking as some reviewers would have us believe. Thanks, Azlan, for showing I am not alone..........


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 Post subject: Re: Akram Khan 2000-2003
PostPosted: Fri Sep 19, 2003 1:12 am 
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Location: San Francisco
Although I've seen very little modern dance in the SF Bay Area in the last few years, I can't think of any modern dance I saw before that, that reminded me of this performance (which I loved). Azlan, I'd be interested in learning which groups perform works that look like this so that I can see them and make the comparison myself.

One thing Khan's choreography has in common with lots of current modern ballet choreography I've seen recently is the high energy movement with lots of fast direction changes. However, the form it took in the Akram Khan company appealed to me immensely, which I can't say about most of the other choreographers' works.

Much was made of Khan's background in Kathak, so I thought that the movements might actually look like Kathak. But in the opening section, the connection to Kathak was (to me) mainly in the dynamics -- those furious bursts of energy that seem to come out of nowhere. The use of the dancers' hands also had a feeling of Kathak, whether or not the hand positions were actually from Kathak.

I was so pleased by the not-so-obvious Kathak connection that I was initially disappointed at the start of the section that most obviously referred to Kathak. But the way it was structured made it something quite original.

The dancers were all a pleasure to watch, but two of them, Khan himself and one of the women (I couldn't tell who was who from the program) have that densely muscular build that made the fast movements especially effective and impressive. I thought the duets for these two were beautifully tender.

Unlike a couple of people I talked to after the performance, I definitely did not feel the piece was too long. In fact, I was disappointed that it ended! I'd love to see more of Khan's choreography, hoping, of course, that he wouldn't turn out to be like certain choreographers who create works that are interchangeable.


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 Post subject: Re: Akram Khan 2000-2003
PostPosted: Fri Sep 19, 2003 4:39 pm 
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Location: SF Bay Area
Quote:
Azlan, I'd be interested in learning which groups perform works that look like this
Off the top of my head, Lines Ballet, Robert Henry Johnson, Robert Moses 'Kin, Michael Lowe's asian-themed ballets, Mario Alonzo's Kathak-influenced work for Oakland Ballet, the East as Center program, Facing East, and a modern Kathak dancer whom I caught at ODC Pilot but whose name I forget. You can probably throw in the Kathak and Balinese masters in SF who are expanding the universe of their vocabulary through fusion, such as Chitresh Das, Govindan Kutty, Ni Ketut Arini and Kompiang Metri Davies. BTW, "Kaash" also has a striking resemblance to ADT's "Birdbrain."

Mind you none of the works of these choreographers and performers are identical to "Kaash" but they do share more than a few similar elements.

<small>[ 19 September 2003, 06:39 PM: Message edited by: Azlan ]</small>


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 Post subject: Re: Akram Khan 2000-2003
PostPosted: Fri Sep 19, 2003 5:01 pm 
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Location: San Francisco
I suspected Alonzo King might be in the list. However, despite similar elements, I consider Khan's choreography and the look of his movements to be very different from King's (i.e., the former appeals to me and the latter doesn't).

Someone else I talked to last night mentioned Robert Moses. I'll have to check that out.

As far as fusion goes, I think had I not known that Khan has a background in Kathak, I wouldn't even have thought about it during the entire first section of "Kaash." I knew there was particular feeling to the movements that I liked, but I don't think Kathak would have come to mind unbidden. Until the section with the vocalization started, I would have considered this choreography to be modern dance, and very good modern dance.

Perhaps I haven't seen the right performance by Chitresh Das and Kompiang Metri Davies, but what I've seen has a much stronger connection to the choreographers' Indian and Balinese dance backgrounds, respectively.


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 Post subject: Re: Akram Khan 2000-2003
PostPosted: Fri Sep 19, 2003 5:35 pm 
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Location: San Francisco
Azlan, it seems your objection to "Kaash" is that it wasn't groundbreaking. I, on the other hand, not looking for anything groundbreaking (and not caring whether it was), was simply thrilled by seeing that dance that, for the first time in a LONG time, made me want to dance again.


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 Post subject: Re: Akram Khan 2000-2003
PostPosted: Fri Sep 19, 2003 9:36 pm 
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Joined: Fri Oct 22, 1999 11:01 pm
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Location: SF Bay Area
Quote:
...it seems your objection to "Kaash" is that it wasn't groundbreaking.
Yes. I'm not saying "Kaash" wasn't an incredible piece of choreography. Instead what I saw didn't match the expectations I came to have by reading the reviews from elsewhere.

Nigel0060, one should always feel free to say what they feel no matter how unpopular that sentiment is. Differences of opinion and how we value aesthetics are two of the things that make life interesting.

[Here's an open secret: one reason I post my open thoughts is to encourage others to express themselves.]


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 Post subject: Re: Akram Khan 2000-2003
PostPosted: Sun Sep 28, 2003 12:33 pm 
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Location: Santa Barbara, CA USA
Quote:
Masterful inventions blend old, new
Chris Pasles, LA Times

The Akram Khan Company hits a home run at the Skirball Center.
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 Post subject: Re: Akram Khan 2000-2003
PostPosted: Sun Sep 28, 2003 12:42 pm 
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Posts: 943
Location: Santa Barbara, CA USA
Quote:
He can find rhythm in contrasts of his life
Donna Perlmutter, LA Times

Akram Khan moves to a world beat as he blends modern and traditional, East and West in his choreography.
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