Posted on October 3, 2012 at 5:45 am

Events What's Happenin'

CAP UCLA Presents West Coast Premiere of Akram Khan Company ‘Vertical Road’

Center for the Art of Performance at UCLA (CAP UCLA) celebrates one of the most acclaimed choreographers of his generation with the west coast premiere of Akram Khan’s riveting Vertical Road at Royce Hall October 5-6 at 8 p.m. Tickets ($20-$55) are now available via, Ticketmaster or the UCLA Central Ticket Office at 310-825-2101.

Akram Khan has assembled a dynamic cast of performers from across Asia, Europe and the Middle East for this work that explores man’s earthly nature, his rituals and the consequences of human actions in a thoughtful meditation on the journey of life. Set to an original score composed by longstanding collaborator Nitin Sawhney, Vertical Road draws inspiration from the Sufi tradition and the Persian poet- philosopher Rumi. The work was hailed by critics in its U.K. and European debuts in 2010.

Sawhney and company producer, Farooq Chaudhry, will participate in a post-show discussion of the work immediately following the Friday October 5 performance. While on campus, members of the company will also interact with UCLA and Los Angeles middle-school students for master classes, discussions and performance workshops as part of CAP UCLA’s Art in Action initiative.

Vertical Road is the work that inspired Danny Boyle to invite Khan to create (and perform in) a meditative piece for the London Olympic Opening Ceremony this summer. Born in London to a family of Bangladeshi origin, Akram Khan began dancing at age 7 and studied with renowned Kathak dancer and teacher Sri Pratap Pawar. Throughout his career Khan has combined his commitment to classical Kathak with his modern work.

His earlier notable company works are Kaash (2002), a collaboration with artist Anish Kapoor and Sawhney, and Ma (2004), with text by Hanif Kureishi. Vertical Road won “Best Modern Choreography” in the U.K.’s Critics’ Circle 2011 National Dance Awards. His newest solo work, DESH was awarded the 2012 Laurence Olivier Award for Best New Dance Production.

Sawhney contributes a dynamic and percussive score to Vertical Road. His past work with Khan, earned the composer a New York Performance and Dance Award for best score for zero degrees. He has composed for many theatrical productions including Olivier-Award-winning work from Complicite’s A Disappearing Number.

Sawnhey’s career spans production and composition work with Sting, Cirque Du Soleil, Shakira, Paul McCartney, Jeff Beck, Tao Cruz, Imogen Heap, Anoushka Shankar and many others. Recently he has also scored for video games, including Sony Playstation’s number one game, Heavenly Sword and the forthcoming Enslaved. He is currently scoring a major eight-part TV series for the BBC, “Human Planet.”

Center for the Art of Performance at UCLA (CAP UCLA) is dedicated to the advancement of contemporary performing arts in all disciplines — dance, music, spoken word and theater, as well the emerging digital, collaborative and cross-art platforms inspired by today’s leading artists and creators. CAP supports the creation, presentation and critical dialogues vital to the ongoing innovation and expressive potential of artists whose work, whether vibrantly emerging or internationally acclaimed, forms the dynamic and evolving heritage of contemporary performance. Based in UCLA’s iconic Royce Hall, CAP UCLA is the university’s public center for the presentation of the performing arts and contributes to the cultural life of the campus and greater Los Angeles, promoting civic dialogue and creative inquiry. Through an annual season of performing arts programs and extensive community-engagement events — including artist fellows and residency programs, K–12 arts education (Design for Sharing), student mentorship (Student Committee for the Arts), and art-making and experiential activities (Art in Action) — CAP UCLA advances the importance of art in society by celebrating and deepening the connection between artist and audience.