Akram Khan has become one of the most acclaimed choreographers of this generation, with countless awards and citations for his bold approach to creating dance works. His signature choreographic style draws upon techniques and vocabularies from Kathak and modern dance. For Vertical Road Akram Khan has assembled a cast of performers from across Asia, Europe and the Middle East for a courageous and ambitious work set to a specially commissioned score from composer Nitin Sawhney, Khan's long-term collaborator and fellow cultural pioneer. Vertical Road draws inspiration from the Sufi tradition and beloved Persian philosopher-poet Rumi.
Exploring man's earthly nature, his rituals and the consequences of human actions, Vertical Road becomes a meditation on the journey from gravity to grace-an odyssey of reconnection that London's Guardian called "a harrowing, beautiful puzzle."
Born in London to a family of Bangladeshi origin, Akram Khan began dancing at age 7 and studied with renowned Kathak dancer and teacher Sri Pratap Pawar. His earlier notable company works are Kaash (2002), a collaboration with artist Anish Kapoor and composer Nitin Sawhney, and ma (2004), with text by Hanif Kureishi. Vertical Road won "Best Modern Choreography" in the U.K.'s Critics' Circle 2011 National Dance Awards. Khan was selected to choreograph a section of the London 2012 Olympics Opening Ceremony, and his newest solo work, DESH was awarded the 2012 Laurence Olivier Award for Best New Dance Production.
"More and more I am pulled reluctantly towards a strong horizontal current, which is a place where time is moving at such high velocity that even our breath is forced to accelerate just in order for us humans to survive. And I have always believed that it is in our slow exhalation where the sense of deep spirituality resides. In a world moving so fast, with the growth of technology and information, I am somehow inclined to move against this current, in search of what it might mean to be connected not just spiritually, but also vertically." -Akram Khan