Vertical Road & Desh & iTMOi & Torobaka & Until The Lions & XENOS (Akram Khan)

Vertical Road & Desh & iTMOi & Torobaka & Until The Lions & XENOS (Akram Khan)

A veritable melting pot of nations and cultures, the Akram Khan company is a showcase in itself for the values of diversity

"Who can personify diversity better than Akram Khan, whose origins are both Bangladeshi and British, and whose work focuses on connecting people from all cultures? (....) My first encounter with Akram was a defining moment.  As I watched the performance of bahok, a production of Akram Khan Company and the National Ballet of China, I saw how the choreographer was able to scatter all resistance to diversity.  Always on the look-out for the best, above and beyond technical expertise and dramatic potential - each dancer is embraced and respected for his or her own body language, trajectory, origins, even the traces left behind by their individual stories." (Hervé Le Bouc, Colas Group Chairman and Chief Executive Officer between 2008 and 2019)

In 2010 and 2011, Colas on Stage paved the way with Akram Khan, world renowned Bangladeshi-British choreographer, by supporting his latest creation: Vertical Road.

The dancers, who herald from Asia, Europe, Australia and the Middle East, use their own specific cultural languages to interpret the universal mythical figures that symbolize ascension, from the earth to the heavens. 

In 2012, Colas also provided support to Akram Khan’s project called Desh. After a premier in London, like Vertical Road, Khan then took Desh to the road for a global tour, during which Colas subsidiaries worldwide where able to organize events around his venues.

Desh is the most personal work to date from Akram Khan. Desh, which means 'homeland' in Bengali, is an intimate exploration of the choreographer and performer’s relationship with Bagladesh. Desh is a sanskrit word for ‘nation’, as well as ‘earth’, and in this project, Akram Khan travels multiple paths to weave the threads of his identity. As an actor and a storyteller, he portrays many roles, all facets of his own identity, combining his own personal history, historical memories and legends.  From Great Britain to Bangladesh, Akram Khan combines personal experience and myths in a surreal world of surprising connections. 

In 2013, Colas supported iTMOI (in the mind of Igor), the most recent group work created and choreographed by Akram Khan.  A tribute to Igor Stravinsky on the 100th anniversary of The Rite of Spring, iTMOI explores the way Stravinsky transformed the classical world of music by evoking emotions through patterns and ruptures, creating a work rooted in the ritual of sacrifice.   For Akram Khan and for Colas, creating means knowing how to free oneself from past models, deconstructing to rebuild anew. 

Colas supported Akram Khan’s creation of a duet with the Sevillian choreographer Israel Galvan called Torobaka. Presented in Grenoble in June 2014, and at the Théâtre de la Ville in Paris in December 2014, the choreography combines flamenco and kathak (traditional Indian dance).

Created by Akram Khan Company and supported by Colas in 2016, Until The Lions reinterprets the story of Amba, a female character in Mahabharata, a sacred book of India. Akram Khan returns to Kathak, a traditional dance of India, and places a female character at the heart of the Indian epic masterpiece, traditionally viewed as male.

Akram Khan will present his last solo piece as a dancer, XENOS, inspired by Greek mythology, at the Théâtre de la Ville in Paris at the end of 2019.

(see Akram Khan's biography)

Photos : Antoine Poupel, Laurent Ziegler, Richard Haughton.