Akram Khan’s ‘Until The Lions’ ★★★★★

Akram Khan and Ching-Ying Chien Until the Lions at the Roundhouse 9-24 January 2016 Credit Jean Louis Fernandez 11.jpg

Akram Khan is one of the UK’s most inspiring and unique dance makers.

Until The Lions is simply stunning, it’s an extraordinary piece that is a deeply immersive experience. Akram Khan creates a unique world which draws you in to a story of love and death. His fusion of modern dance and Kathak Indian classical dance creates a unique language that inspires distinct choreography and movement.

Ching-Ying Chien in Akram Khans Until the Lions (c) Jean Louis Fernandez
Ching-Ying Chien in Akram Khans Until the Lions (c) Jean Louis Fernandez

Akram Khan performs with two incredible dancers Ching-Ying Chien who is divine, so delicate and yet so intense. She moves and contorts her body in complex and raw ways, and she’s so fluid, captivating, it’s hard to take your eyes off her. Christine Joy Ritter is strong, rigid and moves in ways that surprises showing hints of her hip-hop passion, she is compulsive and complements Ching-Ying and together they are astounding.

Akram Khan and Ching-Ying Chien in Until the Lions at the Roundhouse 9-24 January 2016 Credit Jean Louis Fernandez 6.jpg

The performance is like a pendulam, swinging from moments of intense bursts of dance, a twisting collision of Indian arms, hands and feet with modern flashes, the dancers wielding themselves across the stage, they intertwine, they crawl, roll, contort. Then there’s moments of quiet, a stillness with the only sound of narration as the dancers’ movement slows, reveals.

Akram Khan and Christine Joy Ritter in Until the Lions (c) Jean Louis Fernandez
Akram Khan and Christine Joy Ritter in Until the Lions (c) Jean Louis Fernandez

The ending is a triumph, a crescendo that is quite awe-inspiring, so much so that I don’t want to ruin it for you!

This is an important piece and reflects the calibre of dance in the UK and reminds us that worlds blend, that beauty and ugly, smooth and jagged, joy, love and hate all have their place and together create a rich tapestry.

Akram Khan and Ching-Ying Chien in Until the Lions (c) Jean Louis Fernandez
Akram Khan and Ching-Ying Chien in Until the Lions (c) Jean Louis Fernandez

Until The Lion creates a deeply tribal and spiritual world that is performed ‘in the round’ – on a round stage (created by Tim Yip Oscar Awarded for his visual work on the acclaimed film Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon) with live Indian vocalists and instrumentalists performing on the edges, becoming part of the story and performance.

This is an absolute must see! Until 24 Jan – Get your tickets from Sadler’s Wells.

by Savannah Saunders

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