About Contact Submit Article or Event

Exuberance in Excellence

Akram Khan Photo courtesy: The Park New Festival

After a quite celebration of Janmashtami, inviting (rather bribing) the most sought after Lord of Hindu mythology to our house, through the large spread of delicacies, we definitely filled our palate before Him and rushed to fill our dose of culture palate to Shilpa Kala Vedika on a chilly September evening.

The second edition of Park’s National Festival was featuring UK based contemporary performer Akram Khan and his company in Hyderabad in his latest production – Gnosis, which for one had catered to contrasts – there were the traditional Gurus and stalwarts, Page 3’s , the rich and the famous, teenagers right out of school, the uninitiated with the ‘Family Pack’, the cheeky and sleepy children and among this was us, the younger confused lot as we appraised ourselves for possessing complementary passes and the rare chance to occupy the front rows.

Akram Khan’s very entry on the stage soaked us with the realization of the worth of this rare chance and instantly converted those heavily seated delicacies in the stomach into literal butterflies.

A beautifully made aesthetic stage, a highly accomplished music ensemble given their due respects by their very positioning on both sides of the proscenium, an apt rough textured spot light welcoming the dancer on to the stage – everything seemed picture perfect, everything attended to in such minute detail!

The commencing piece extolled Lord Shiva in his ‘Ardhanareshwar Avataar’ as the dancer executed subtle transformations from the rigid to the graceful at every line of the poem. There was a duality in all that he presented. Where the stances were masculine manifestations and sharp attitudes, his movements were elegance personified in their flow and connect.

Khan then followed with a brisk bow to ‘Allah’ and a most simple yet colourful rendition of the basic constituent of a Kathak recital – The ‘Teen Taal’. It was a raw showcase of deft foundation, creative genius and passionate indulgence as he sashayed into exciting ‘Jugalbandhis’ with the ensemble to end into a peak of a crescendo.

Gnosis Photo courtesy: The Park New Festival

The second half presented Gnosis- a contemporary account of the life of Gandhari- the character from Mahabharata in her relationship complexities with her last son Duryodhana. I must confess at this point of being an amateur audience to contemporary works to the extent to assimilate the choreographer’s idea and perception in the right sense. What did fascinate me though was the technical brilliance in which Fang-Yi Sheu portraying Gandhari and Khan in the role of Duryodhana executed in both the movement and expressional aspects of the presentation. Be it Fan-Yi Sheu stepping over Khan as the latter rolled on to form consecutive steps, or the instances of the dancers covering each other’s faces during convulsions, or the absolute lightness in their lifts or finally Khan in a still vibrating movement, it seemed that the dancers could do anything!

The audience which held itself in jaw dropping amusement through the performance was only left to show gratitude through standing ovation. Also an admirable mention of the entire team of musicians : Sanju Sahai on Tabla, Lucy Railton on Cello, Bernhard Schimpelsberger on Drums and Percussion, Kartik Raghunathan on Violin and Kaushik on the Vocal who supported just in the right framework – not a note high or low!

As we left the auditorium in awe and pleased at an opportunity providing such inspiration, the fact hits back saying – one has to have the art inside – no other spicing or stuffing necessary to make it pure delicacy!