It’s a warm silent night at UCLA Royce Hall. As I get myself seated among the excited crowd in the auditorium filled with silent whispers and dim lights, the gaudy ceiling made me feel like a tiny ant. I was excited to witness Akram’s creation right before my eyes.
Soon, the magic began- What started as a one man show with curtains, shadows, and scripture in the air, inspired by the writings of the famous sufi poet- Rumi, slowly escalated to a group of people embracing different structures and strength. Each individual brought a different talent to the table. What made the dance so powerful and elegant was the fierce combination of these different souls.
The vertical- The dance was a symbol of strength, passion and pure dedication. As I sat there starring at the performance, all I could think was, the dancers definitely had to hold a different mind set; almost in their own bubble- a deep sense of hypnotism splattered on them. As the hypnotic dancers swayed and created dust from beneath them, the mere sound of tight claps and their modest outfits made me feel overwhelmed. The energy in the room raised proportionally to the intensity of the dancers. After 70 minutes of pure consistent passion and beauty, I felt completely drained and was left in a state of awe. How could one create such a routine which consisted of all critical elements – spirituality, being in the present, romance, attachment, strength, passion, and above all, enthusiasm. I decided to discover a few thoughts by the producer, Farooq Chaudhry, and composer, Nitin Swahney, who joined us for a short Q & A round after the show.
Farooq Cahudhry- a balanced and cheerful individual shared his experience working with Akram:
“It feels like 5 minutes, and not 12 years. It feels so new!”
Farooq has watched the same performance atleast 170 times, and still enjoys every slight change and the powerful performance.
Nitin Swahney- A talented composer stated:
“It was a very powerful piece, I had to move away. It was very overwhelming. The images are very iconic and strong. There was a sense of release in the end.“
In a world, moving horizontal – trying to accomplish and move in fast paced life – we humans often forget the verticals… the spiritual line, the bigger picture. Akram Khan has beautifully captured the verticals and has achieved a sense of inward stillness, while simultaneously extracting emotions outwardly through his choreography.