Akram Khan Talks about Role in London 2012 Olympic Games Opening Ceremony

- Khan comments on role and invitation to media briefing -

Invitation to media briefing:

  • Akram Khan will be interviewed by Alan Yentob, BBC Creative Director, about his role, career and journey, at London Media Centre, One Great George Street, SW1P 3AA on 28 July, 1600-1700hrs.  Full details below.
  • RSVP and Interviews: jack.hickmott@kallaway.com / 07500 420 914
  • Images, footage, biography: http://bit.ly/AkramKhanPress

Background and comment:

Akram Khan choreographed a prominent section of Danny Boyle’s Isles of Wonder Olympic Games Opening Ceremony. The brief from Boyle to Khan was one word - ‘Mortality’.

The section featured 50 specially selected professional dancers, a 9-year-old boy and Khan himself. Set to the voice of Emeli Sandé singing Abide With Me, the piece was a moment of reflection and contemplation following the vibrant and astonishing, high tempo proceedings.

Khan’s work brought an infectious stillness to the London 2012 Ceremony, a reminder of our own mortality and the transfer of possibilities and hopes between generations. Danny Boyle invited Khan to choreograph the section after watching a performance of his piece Vertical Road – which explores similar themes.

Throughout his career Akram Khan has captivated audiences all over the world with his unique way of storytelling that cross cultural boundaries.

Following his performance in Isles of Wonder Akram Khan said:

"Working with Danny and his team on the Opening Ceremony of the London Olympic Games has been an exciting and humbling experience. I was daunted but always felt honoured and proud. I have tried to reconnect our intimacy and creativity to this gigantic world, to all our roots and to our hopes for the future. It seems almost natural for arts and sports to sit side by side: in both we desire to test the very limits of what we're capable of doing. In sports human endurance, in arts human imagination."

Following the Opening Ceremony, Akram Khan Company will resume a global tour. Akram’s Olivier award winning solo production DESH will go to Rome, Amsterdam, Luxembourg, Athens and Paris before returning to London’s Sadler’s Wells in October. His other multi-award winning works Gnosis and Vertical Road will be touring Germany, India, Taiwan, the USA and France.

Akram Khan MBE is one of the most acclaimed choreographers of his generation in the world today. He has been honoured with the UK’s major dance accolades - including an Olivier Award in 2012 for DESH - and has collaborated with international artists including Kylie Minogue, Juliette Binoche, Antony Gormley, Anish Kapoor, Sylvie Guillem and now Danny Boyle as part of the London 2012 Olympics Opening Ceremony.

Born in London into a family of Bangladeshi origin, Akram began dancing at seven and studied with the renowned kathak dancer and teacher Sri Pratap Pawar. He began presenting solo performances of his work in the late 1990s, maintaining his commitment to classical kathak as well as developing modern work.

PRESS EVENT – Afternoon Tea with Alan Yentob & Akram Khan:

Date and time: 28 July, 1600-1700hrs

Place: Telford Room, London Media Centre, One Great George Street, SW1P 3AA

Hosted by Alan Yentob, Creative Director of the BBC, the event will explore why Khan was chosen, the brief given to him, how it was addressed, and what it was like working with Danny Boyle on the most watched event on earth. It will also discuss the Khan’s journey to this point and his forthcoming works.  Akram Khan will be joined by his producer Farooq Chaudhry.

To reserve a space please RSVP to: Jack Hickmott / jack.hickmott@kallaway.com

Please note, it is recommended that you register with the London Media Centre for easy access on the day: http://www.londonmediacentre.co.uk/registration/

- ENDS -

For a full biography and images: http://bit.ly/AkramKhanPress

Notes to Editors

About Akram Khan Company

Akram Khan Company was founded by Akram Khan and his producer Farooq Chaudhry in 2000.  The company has established a worldwide reputation for work that is ambitious, powerful, fresh, relevant and profoundly moving. Few dance artists are able to reach out to audiences in Europe, the Americas, the Middle East, Australia and Asia and are able to be understood and enjoyed by them in the way Khan is. A classicist and a modernist, the storytelling in Khan’s work has an uncanny ability to reflect our times and in the past ten years he has reinvigorated perceptions of dance, other art forms and cultures.

Khan has been the recipient of numerous awards throughout his career including the Laurence Olivier Award, the prestigious ISPA (International Society for the Performing Arts) Distinguished Artist Award, the South Bank Sky Arts Award and the UK Critics' Circle National Dance Award. Khan was awarded an MBE for services to dance in 2005. He is also an Honorary Graduate of Roehampton and De Montfort Universities, and an Honorary Fellow of Trinity Laban.

The company has also collaborated with some of the world’s best-known performers and artists including Danny Boyle, Kylie Minogue, Juliette Binoche, Antony Gormley, Anish Kapoor, Sylvie Guillem, Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui and Nitin Sawhney