Akram Khan in Abu Dhabi. The dance show, which is directed by Khan, is the final in a trilogy commissioned by Adach. Image Credit: Alex Westcott/Gulf News

Abu Dhabi: Renowned UK choreographer and dancer of Bangladeshi origin, Akram Khan, has returned for the third year as part of a collaboration with the Abu Dhabi Authority of Culture and Heritage (Adach).

"I'm very honoured to once again collaborate with Adach and be a part of their artistic vision… art is not just about exchanging ideas but also values and cultures. Vertical Road is inspired by an incident that happened to me when I was performing in Sydney over a year ago," Khan, who is also the Artistic Director of the Akram Khan Company, said.

Khan said it was an encounter after his performance with a taxi cab driver who knew Khan's father but lost touch with him over 40 years ago that inspired him to explore spirituality and the way we are all connected in one way or another.

"I hired a researcher to gather as much information as possible about spirituality in different cultures, which was then placed on the walls of our studio," he said.


"My team and I would then study them for four weeks, picking things that attracted us and finding a way to incorporate it into Vertical Road," Akram said.

"Afterwards, we took a few months' break before returning and finalising all the details… Even though I'm not performing this time I wanted to give the audience an opportunity to form their own interpretations," he added.

The dance show, which is directed by Khan, is the final in a trilogy commissioned by Adach in 2009.

It is also the inaugural performance of the third edition of World Stage, an initiative launched by Adach three years ago that seeks to provide the best in world music through the performance of a series of contemporary concerts. "World Stage continues to present the best international contemporary colours in dance and music. This year we will play host to five exceptionally talented musicians in Abu Dhabi, the capital of art and culture," Abdullah Al Ameri, Director of Culture and Arts, Adach, said.

"Over 40,000 people have enjoyed the performances in our past two sessions and we hope to continue providing such unique events… where art and culture can meet in an open forum," he added.


  • What: Vertical Road by Akram Khan
  • When: Friday, February 18 at 7pm
  • Where: Abu Dhabi National Theatre
  • For more information please phone 02 657 6333