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Dec 2000

Born in the UK of Bangladeshi origin, award winning choreographer Akram Khan who is skilled in both Kathak and contemporary choreography teams up with some of the most gifted composers, lighting designers and dancers currently working in Britain and abroad. The resulting intelligent and compelling choreography has elevated this third generation Asian to being one of the young artistes who brings vitality to cross-cultural expression in the world today. In 1999, Akram Khan won the Jerwood Foundation Choreography Award. Apart from being Choreographer in Residence of DanceEast (2000-2002), the National Dance Agency for Suffolk and Eastern Region, he is a recipient of a Lisa Ullmann Travelling Scholarship Grant 2000.

How does it feel to be one of the most sought after performing artistes in the UK?
So long as I can challenge my creativity and have quality in all my work, it makes no difference to whether I am the most sought after performing artist in the UK or not.

Have you performed before in India? How do you feel about your forthcoming performance for THE OTHER FESTIVAL in Chennai?
Yes, I have. I have performed classical kathak recitals with my guru Shri Pratap Pawar in Delhi, Lucknow and Bombay. I am really looking to experiencing the response of Indian audiences to my work.

Apart from FIX and LOOSE IN FLIGHT, you will be doing an impromptu piece to live percussion accompaniment at The Other Festival, a piece that you will later perform in Bangalore and New Delhi. Do you have any plans for this new item?
I have no plans because it will be purely improvised.

You call your style of dance 'Contemporary Kathak'. How do you define that?
Ask me four years later, when I can understand more thoroughly the subject I am exploring. At the moment I am in transition of searching, I have not quite found a solid foundation to be able to explain or define clearly what I mean by 'contemporary Kathak'.

You have recently started The Akram Khan Company. What are your ambitions for the Company?
(a) To create a research and development base for new dancers who wish to venture in my exploration and work.
(b) To introduce, and for audiences around the globe, to experience and acknowledge the point that Kathak and Contemporary Dance together canform a new exciting language.

What was the turning point in your career?
Working with senior British choreographer Jonathan Burrows and with cutting edge artists at Rosas in Belgium. With regard to stability of my work and the Company, having a manager who has the vision and ambition to equal mine.

You have worked with other choreographers like Jonathan Burrows. What do you look for in your artistic collaborations?
Can I learn something valuable and in return can I offer and share ideas with them.

When you create your new works, what do you have in mind?
a. Purity b. Simplicity c. Honesty

What has been the most memorable moment of your career?
1999 - 'Duet' with Jonathan Burrows at the Queen Elisabeth Hall, London (Kevin Volans evening)

Your birth date.
29 July 1974

Your goal in life.
To continue to have a voice and influence in the world of dance.

Akram Khan

( As told to LV )