I’ve never been to see contemporary dance before this. Never ever. And, I didn’t choose to go, it just so happened that I was taken. Sometimes, (and I believe I had forgotten this) it’s good to go and see something you might not have bought tickets for otherwise.
Step outside what you know you do like for sure, and take some risks.
Until the Lions is the latest offering from the dancer and choreographer Akram Khan. Now, to people in the know about dance, this is a big deal, but me being me, this name meant nothing to me, which meant I sat down for the performance with no expectations.
The show is currently on at the Round House in London. (And by currently, I mean, this evening is the last performance. So this information is very helpful for you. BUT it might actually be helpful, as if he does anything in the future near you, or this tours you might be inclined to see it, after I basically write in so many words that ‘I like it’.)
The performance is a re-telling of a Sanskrit epic of ancient India, called Mahabharata. (Feel free to google it to understand the story. This was something I did after seeing the performance.) I don’t want to talk about the story they told, or what it is about. I want to talk about the overall performance from the lighting to the singers.
The stage design was beautiful and ever so clever. It was the cross-section of a larger tree, with cracks that grew as the tension in the story grew larger and larger. The design of the stage plays an important role in the very end of the performance, with lighting and fog adding an extra level of theatrics. Now, although I thought this was of a pretty high standard, the sound was as good, if not better. It seems that Khan truly understands the necessity of collaborating with people who truly know their art forms.
What I can say of Under the Lions is that it was a whole production. Everything worked as one, the dancing, the staging, the music. In particular I have to mention the female singer, named Sohini Alam who was fantastic. There are so many adjectives I could use, but I’ll just stick with that one. Her musical projects are definitely worth searching and listening to.
All in all, if you have never thought about watching contemporary dance before, I would definitely give it a try. Hopefully, you’ll enjoy it as much as I did. (I cried!)