World premiere: 15 Sept 2011, Curve Theatre, Leicester
London premiere: 4 Oct 2011, Sadler’s Wells, London
Duration: 80 minutes with no interval
DESH is a full-length contemporary solo and the most personal work to date from celebrated choreographer and performer, Akram Khan. DESH meaning ‘homeland’ in Bengali, draws multiple tales of land, nation, resistance and convergence into the body and voice of one man trying to find his balance in an unstable world.
Moving between Britain and Bangladesh, Khan weaves threads of memory, experience and myth into a surreal world of surprising connection. At once intimate and epic, DESH explores fragility in the face of natural forces, and celebrates the resilience of the human spirit in the rhythms of labour, in dream and story, and in transformation and survival.
For this production, Khan teams up with Oscar-winning visual artist Tim Yip (Production Designer for Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon), fellow Sadler’s Wells Associate Artist lighting designer Michael Hulls, writer and poet Karthika Nair and Olivier award-winning composer Jocelyn Pook.
‘Those transparent Dacca gauzes
known as woven air, running
water, evening dew.’ (Agha Shahid Ali)
Message from COLAS
A silhouette dancing against a familiar diamond-shaped form. Colas and Akram Khan Company have been paving the way forward, hand in hand, since 2008. First came the time of mutual discovery and understanding. Where did our roads cross? Where did our worlds overlap? As engineers and dancers, we both needed to get off the well-beaten paths traced by our professions.
In the end, we were able to see far beyond our own personal projects, to perceive what we shared: the desire for excellence, a forward-thinking focus, flexibility, humility, courage, the capacity to go further than our limits and confront the obstacles formed by our bodies and by matter, pride in what we have created, erecting strong, solid bridges between people. Even stronger, even more solid than preconceived ideas and resistance.
The partnership between Colas and Akram Khan Company tells the tale of an opening of minds, of mutual growth. Something strikes me today: as Akram Khan observed, our thoughts were always focused on ‘we’, never on just ‘I’. This is without a doubt how this story came to be, sparked by the desire to work together and by the instinct that we had both found the right partner.
We have decided to continue to extend these bridges. It started with Vertical Road. Then, it was DESH: more than a simple case of corporate patronage; it’s a genuine joint venture.
Hervé Le Bouc, Chairman and CEO of COLAS