One of the problems ballet suffers from is that is can sometimes seem, well, a bit irrelevant. How can a piece of prancing originally designed for the royal courts of Europe some 200 years ago be applicable to life today? Of course it can be, but it has to be reinterpreted in the right way. You need someone who is adept at making movement meaningful for modern audiences – you need someone like Akram Khan.
There is something special about the way we experience dance – it makes a direct connection
Khan’s career has been built on narrative dance works that express through movement what could never be fully said with just words. His shows like DESH, Vertical Road and Until the Lions tell stories in ways that feel familiar yet entirely original – like the fairytales of childhood brought to life. They’re funny, they’re magical and sometimes they are even a little bit scary.
He can do spectacle too: that amazing moment in the London 2012 Olympic Opening Ceremony where dancers leapt in front of a burning sun while Emeli Sande sang Abide With Me? Yep, that was Khan.
So, needless to say we’re rather excited about Khan’s new adaptation of Giselle with English National Ballet, especially now that we’ve seen the trailer. I’m not sure if dance can make your mouth water, but if any piece can then it is this:
There is something special about the way we experience dance – it makes a direct connection. You hear a play in your head, but dance bypasses your brain and gets you right in the gut. It’s the most immediate art form, more so even than music (after all, light travels faster than sound), and in Khan we’ve got a real master of the craft. Pair him up with the immaculate dancers of the English National Ballet and it is hard to see what could go wrong – it just feels right.