The Scotsman: "Dance Review: Chotto Desh" by Kelly Apter (15 Aug 2016)
An absolute triumph
World Premiere: 23 October 2015, DanceEast, Ipswich, UK
London Premiere: 30 October 2015, Sadler’s Wells, London
Last performance: 24 November 2018, Fei and Milton Wong Experimental Theatre, Vancouver
The [Hi]stories of Chotto Desh
by Karthika Naïr
DESH – and Chotto Desh, its younger version adapted for family audiences – began with a promise, one made by a son to his mother. Years ago, early in his career, Akram Khan had promised Mrs. Anwara Khan he would make a piece on the country of her birth, Bangladesh. Akram intended to keep his promise, but life kept happening, other projects kept coming in the way… Then one day, it all started coming together. Akram met visual artist Tim Yip, someone he had admired for long. Tim, agreeing to collaborate with Akram on his next work, suggested it should be an exploration of his parents’ roots: Bangladesh. It was time to keep a promise. To go on a journey.
And that is what we did. The entire creative team met for the first time in Bangladesh, travelling together for ten days through November 2010 to discover many of the voices, faces, places that compose the country.
Now, in this strange, unprecedented moment of physical isolation and danger, when memory and emotional nearness and beauty are our magic wands for sanity, we remember them.
Now, when Chotto Desh will be streamed in an attempt to share something that gave us so much joy and warmth, it seems fitting to share also our memories of those voices and faces and places, the ones that compose DESH and Chotto Desh in ways both visible and invisible.
Read the full text here.
Artistic Direction and Original Choreography Akram Khan
Direction and Adaptation Sue Buckmaster (Theatre-Rites)
Music Composition Jocelyn Pook
Lighting Design Guy Hoare
Stories imagined by Karthika Naïr and Akram Khan
The grandmother’s fable in Chotto Desh is taken from the book The Honey Hunter
Written by Karthika Naïr, Sue Buckmaster and Akram Khan
Assistant Choreographer Jose Agudo
Grandmother’s voice Leesa Gazi
Jui’s voice Sreya Andrisha Gazi
Dancers Dennis Alamanos or Nicolas Ricchini
Producer Claire Cunningham on behalf of AKCT
Original Visual Design Tim Yip
Original Visual Animation created by Yeast Culture
Original Costume Supervisor Kimie Nakano
Sound Designer and AV Engineer Alex Stein
Music Engineer Steve Parr
Costume Reconstruction Advisor Martina Trottmann
Technical Manager Ed Yetton
Rehearsal Director Amy Butler
Stage Manager Dean Sudron
Co-commissioned by MOKO Dance, Akram Khan Company, Sadler’s Wells London, DanceEast, Théâtre de la Ville Paris, Mercat de les Flors Barcelona, Biennale de la danse de Lyon 2016 and Stratford Circus Arts Centre.
Supported by Arts Council England
Akram Khan’s dance piece for youngsters has satisfying depths for an older audience
Khan’s ecstatically danced biographical ruminations on forming an identity from the myths and stories of two worlds – whilst under the pressure of belonging to both and neither – are well served in this resplendent chotto-sized version.
Its heart-warming story of our connections to the past, to family and, most important, the need to find your own path, will captivate an audience of any age.
In a cross-cultural world, it can be hard to define what or where is home. Is home where you are born? Where you live in this moment? Or is it where your roots are? And what does that even mean in 2015 when cultures are merging together?