Akram Khan: I’m terrified that my body will give in

The choreographer performed in Peter Brook’s legendary stage production of The Mahabharata as a child. As he prepares a new dance version of the Indian classical stories, he explains why he has put women centre stage

Akram Khan is one of Britain’s most successful and prolific choreographers; his work exudes a sculpted beauty and calm certainty. His dancing, combining the training of his youth in the Indian classical dance form of kathak with contemporary mores, has an almost transcendent complexity. And yet, he says: “I am becoming more and more afraid.” He smiles and points to his smoothly shaved head. “I am ageing here much quicker than in my body,” he explains. “I’m terrified that in a simple movement my body will give in and I won’t be able to do it. I can do it, and can do it really fast, but it’s psychological.” This sense of frailty accelerated when he tore his achilles tendon in 2012. He was rehearsing Sacred Monsters, the piece he created for and performed with Sylvie Guillem, when he felt it snap; the resulting 4cm gap could have ended his career. But he fought back to full dancing strength, leaving doubts only in his own mind. “When I am stressed or excited, I still walk with a limp,” he says. He stands up to demonstrate, laughing at his own fallibility.

Related: Akram Khan returns to the Mahabharata: autumn at Sadler’s Wells

Related: Q&A: Akram Khan

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Source: Guardian Dance News

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