Sunday, October 20, 2013

Canadian Stage presents DESH choreographed and performed by Akram Khan October 31 to November 2 2013 in Toronto

From a media release:

Canadian Stage presents DESH choreographed and performed by Akram Khan
Three performances only; on stage at the Bluma Appel Theatre from October 31 to November 2, 2013

Toronto, ON –
Canadian Stage presents the North American premiere of the Olivier Award-winning dance production DESH with a limited three performance run. Featuring masterful choreographer and performer Akram Khan in a full-length solo performance, the production is on stage at the Bluma Appel Theatre (27 Front St. E) from October 31 to November 2. Collaborating with Oscar-winning visual artist Tim Yip, lighting designer Michael Hulls, writer and poet Karthika Naïr and composer Jocelyn Pook, Khan has created a theatrical dance experience that is at once intimate and epic.

“DESH shares a haunting and beautiful look at the fragility of one man’s relationship with himself and the world at large,” said Matthew Jocelyn, artistic & general director, Canadian Stage. “We continue to celebrate storytelling through dance by sharing this very personal work of Akram Khan with a brave, insightful and powerful performance that will capture the imagination and hearts of our audience. On stage for only three performances, this is a show you don’t want to miss.”

Meaning ‘homeland’ in Bengali, DESH follows a single performer moving between Britain and Bangladesh as he explores the fragile fluctuations of life in an unstable world. Khan weaves threads of memory, experience and myth into a surreal world of surprising connections, drawing on multiple tales of land, nation, resistance and convergence into the body and voice of one man trying to find his balance. The artful interaction with pre-designed visuals and melodic composition is complemented by spoken word and creates an experience which, taken as a whole, is deeply personal and universally touching.

“I am fascinated by water inside the earth; it is the core principle of the way I think and move, fluidity within form,” said Khan. “DESH is the product of this fascination and my search for and exploration of a story that addresses the tragedy and comedy of lives in Bangladesh.”

Visual designer Tim Yip, who won an Oscar for his work on Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, worked with Khan to create a space for a solo performer to engage the set as another multifaceted character. The visual design forces the character to fall upon objects representing resistance and malleability, offering challenges and opportunities. Lighting designer Michael Hulls manipulates the light to reflect the myriad of elemental and emotional shifts throughout the performance. The combined audio components of Olivier Award-winning composer Jocelyn Pook and writer and poet Karthika Naïr add complexity to the narrative and bring Khan’s choreography to life.

Canadian Stage will offer a complimentary workshop for professional dancers and choreographers taught by Khan on Tuesday, October 29. Spaces are limited to nominated participants from select dance organizations with two additional dancers selected via an application process. The master class, open for invited guests to observe will run from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. at the Berkeley Street Theatre Downstairs. From 5 to 6 p.m. on October 29, Khan will participate in a moderated chat (facilitated by Matthew Jocelyn) followed by a question and answer period with the audience.

Following the November 2 performance there will be a panel conversation moderated by Ravi Jain (Why Not Theatre) highlighting local artists working in the South Asian dance tradition and the continuing evolution of a classical art form as seen in the work of Akram Khan and the panelist’s own creations. The panel will feature pioneers of Indian Classical dance in Canada Menaka Thakkar (Menaka Thakkar Dance Company) and Lata Pada (Sampradaya Dance Creations), with two leading dancers, Nova Bhattacharya (Nova Dance Company) and Neena Jayarajan (Menaka Thakkar Dance Company). For more details or tickets, visit

DESH will be on stage at the Bluma Appel Theatre in the St. Lawrence Centre for the Arts (27 Front St. E.) for three performances at 8 p.m. from Thursday, October 31 to Saturday, November 2. The performance is approximately 80 minutes with no intermission. Tickets from $69 to $99 are available online, by phone at 416.368.3110 or in person at the box office. For details visit   

About DESH
October 31 to November 2, 2013

An Akram Khan Company production presented by Canadian Stage. North American premiere.
Akram Khan Company is sponsored by COLAS.

Canadian Stage Dance Programming Supporter: Hal Jackman Foundation.

Dancer Akram Khan                                        
Creative Team

Choreography and artistic direction - Akram Khan
Visual Design - Tim Yip
Music Composition - Jocelyn Pook
Stories by - Karthika Naïr and Akram Khan
Written by - Karthika Naïr, PolarBear and Akram Khan
Dramaturge - Ruth Little

Shows and Tickets:
Single tickets and subscription packages for the 2013.2014 season are now available with 4-show packages starting at $98 and 10-show packages starting at $272. Single tickets start at $22, with C-Stage Under 30 tickets available for $15 (taxes and fees included). Discount tickets are available thanks to Sun Life Financial, Discount Ticket Programs Sponsor. Subscriptions and tickets may be purchased by phone at 416.368.3110, in person at Canadian Stage’s Bluma Appel Theatre (27 Front St. E.) or Berkeley Street Theatre (26 Berkeley St.) or online at

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