Recommended viewing: Gnosis, by Akram Khan



Revisiting the ancient Hindu epic of Mahabharata, Akram Khan’s Gnosis (2009) takes inspiration from the story of Queen Gandhari, who after marrying the blind King Dritharashtra, blindfolds herself for life as a sign of protest and sacrifice. With a single whisper of the name ‘Duryodhana’, Gnosis establishes the theme of the performance- an exploration of the dark side of human nature, of sorrow and anguish, greed and violence, rage and ego by weaving stillness with a flurry of dynamic, powerful movements.

Khan proves himself a master of marrying ancient and modern, synthesising beautifully classical Kathak traditions with the international language of contemporary dance. The perfection of the lighting further instils this dialogue between tradition and modern, each magnifying the other in a play of light and shadow, resulting in a stunning visual experience. Yoshie Sunahata, with her controlled and elegantly forceful movements distils the sorrow of loss and sacrifice culminating her performance in an elegiac song. Khan on his part delivers a riveting performance evoking the conflicts of the human mind with movements that gain momentum, literally quivering between restraint and release.

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