As part of the UK-Russia Creative Bridge online forum, the Cultural and Education Section of the British Embassy in Moscow presented an artist talk with Akram Khan moderated by Irina Chernomurova. The renowned dancer and choreographer talked about his upcoming collaboration with English National Ballet, the work of his company during the pandemic, and how his dance piece Kaash was adapted for the Russian stage.
Akram Khan is one of the most famous British dancers and choreographers of our time. In addition to experimental, but at the same time accessible productions, Akram Khan is known for his talent to masterfully combine techniques of ancient Indian dance Kathak and modern choreography. His works have been repeatedly shown in Russia, including Akram Khan’s version of Giselle, in which he reimagined the famous romantic ballet in the contemporary setting.
Choreographer, dancer and Artistic Director of Akram Khan Company, Akram Khan is one of the most celebrated and respected dance artists of today. Khan’s work is recognised as being profoundly moving, in which his intelligently crafted storytelling is effortlessly intimate and epic.
His reputation has been built on the success of imaginative, highly accessible and relevant productions such as XENOS, Until the Lions, Kaash, iTMOi (in the mind of igor), DESH, Vertical Road, Gnosis and zero degrees. Described by the Financial Times as an artist “who speaks tremendously of tremendous things”, a highlight of his career was the creation of a section of the London 2012 Olympic Games Opening Ceremony that was received with unanimous acclaim.
As a choreographer, Khan has developed a close collaboration with English National Ballet and its Artistic Director Tamara Rojo. He created the short piece Dust, which led to an invitation to create his own critically acclaimed version of the iconic romantic ballet Giselle. His previous collaborators include the National Ballet of China, actress Juliette Binoche, ballerina Sylvie Guillem, choreographers/dancers Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui and Israel Galván, singer Kylie Minogue, indie rock band Florence and the Machine, visual artists Anish Kapoor, Antony Gormley and Tim Yip, writer Hanif Kureishi and composers Steve Reich, Nitin Sawhney, Jocelyn Pook and Ben Frost.
Khan has been the recipient of numerous awards throughout his career including the Laurence Olivier Award, the Bessie Award, the prestigious ISPA Distinguished Artist Award, the Fred and Adele Astaire Award, among others. Khan was awarded an MBE for services to dance in 2005. He is also an Honorary Graduate of University of London as well as Roehampton and De Montfort Universities, and an Honorary Fellow of Trinity Laban. He is an Associate Artist of Sadler’s Wells and Mountview Academy of Theatre Arts, London and Curve, Leicester.
Irina Chernomurova is Head of Perspective Planning and Special Projects Department at the Bolshoi Theatre, musicologist, Honorary Worker of Culture, Senior Lecturer at GITIS
For over 17 years Irina was Head of the International Relations, Press and Communications Department at the Stanislavsky and Nemirovich-Danchenko Music Theatre. She organised tours for the theatre’s opera company to the USA, Italy, China, South Korea, Latvia, Greece, and across Russia and oversaw the theatre’s ballet company on tour to Italy, Germany, Greece, the USA, China, Japan, Latvia, London and Saint Petersburg.
She initiated and led on exchange tours between the theatre, Hamburg Ballet and the Deutsche Oper am Rhein. Irina produced the following collaborative projects: Debussy's Pelléas et Mélisande with French Cultural Center of Moscow, ENO's production of A Midsummer Night's Dream, Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin with Teatro Verdi, John Neumeier’s ballet Tatiana with Hamburg Ballet. Irina initiated cooperation with the following choreographers: Jiří Kylián, Nacho Duato, and John Neumeier. She was the producer for ballets such as Napoli, Mayerling, Manon; and opera Aida by Peter Stein.