Opening Night of our Olympics gave us a moment to pause with a ‘Wall of Remembrance’- a wall of photographs- of the victims of the terrorist attack on London, July 7, 2005. The dancers were the spirits of those who would have been with us if cruelty had not interceded. Akram Khan depicted their restless souls in search of their lost lives. The Boy represented a legacy of defiance and hope, left to us by these spirits. They did not want to die, to leave us. They bind us to one another.
52 dancers moved together in compelling and expressive design, while the Scottish singer, Emeli Sande sang in a soft voice, ‘Abide with Me’. The stadium seemed hushed as each of us remembered that day. It was in such reflective mood, that the Olympic Torch procession began its climax.
Emeli Sande sings ‘Abide with Me’.
Here is a photo of the spirits dancing to the hymn:
Akram Khan ‘disappointed’ NBC failed to show his dance at Olympics opening ceremony
Britain’s most famous choreographer has expressed disappointment that American broadcasters chose not to show his performance at the Olympics opening ceremony, that came just after a tribute to the victims of the 7/7 bombing, suggesting it was ‘not commercial enough’.
Who is Akram Khan?
Akram Khan was born in 1974 in Wimbledon, London to a family from Dhaka, Bangladesh. He began training from the age of 7 in a classical form of Indian dance, Kathak. He studied with Sri Pratap Pawar, later becoming his disciple. He began his stage career at 14 when Peter Brook cast him in his famous production of ‘Mahabharata’.
Akram Khan on Kathak:
He later turned to contemporary dance at De Montfort University and performing arts at the Northern School of Contemporary Dance. He worked for a time with Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker’s Brussels based X-Group project and began presenting solo performances of his own work in the 1990’s. In August 2000, he created the Akram Khan Company. His first full-length work ‘Kaash’ (2000) was a collaboration between Anish Kapoor and Nitin Sawhney.
Here is Akram in his combination of Kathak and Zen:
He became choreographer-in-residence and later associate artist at the Southbank Centre, London. He presented a recital with Pandit Birju Maharaj and Sri Pratap Pawar. ‘A God of Small Tales’ , a piece for mature women, grew from a collaboration with the writer, Hanif Kureishi. Akram is currently an associate artist with the Sadler’s Wells Theatre in London. His choreography has won many awards.
Akram rehearses with Sylvie Guillem:
He knows how to make clusters of dancers very expressive:
An excerpt from a famous work, ‘Desh':