Akram Khan (right) with Michael Wallis, managing partner of Wallis Marketing. Akram has spent the last two weeks in Abu Dhabi exploring various facets of Arabic music. Image Credit: Abdul Rahman/Gulf News

Abu Dhabi: Akram Khan is back in the capital with a new performance.

The acclaimed choreographer and dancer, who first captured the imagination of audiences when he performed In-I with Oscar-winning actress Juliette Binoche last year, will perform his latest work, Gnosis, at the Abu Dhabi Theatre.

But the demise of Shaikh Mubarak Bin Mohammad Al Nahyan has for the moment led to the postponement of the event.

Speaking with regard to his new work, Khan said: "Gnosis is inspired by the Mahabharata story of Queen Gandari, who blindfolds herself for life to follow her blind husband. It is divided into four parts and I will be performing live with a live band, so there's that sense of it being informal but structured at the same time."

He has spent the last two weeks in Abu Dhabi exploring various facets of Arabic music and finding ways to incorporate it into his performance.

"I have spent some time with members from the House of Oud who will be accompanying me and my team during the performance," he said.

"It was interesting collaborating with such artists who are based in the region."

Khan said Gnosis did not premiere in London as reported by the media.

"I was injured in Paris so I couldn't do the full show in London… I consider my performance on Thursday to be the real premiere, and that's stressing me out just a little," he added.

Following Khan's great success last year, the Abu Dhabi Authority for Culture and Heritage (Adach) has commissioned him to create a new contemporary dance that explores various aspects of the Middle East.

"I was approached to create Vertical Road, which is inspired by Sufism and that explores this concept of verticality. I'm fascinated by Roumi..." he said.

Khan said he would be performing with artists from the Middle East, Greece and China.


The artist is, however, focusing on his performance and has set his sights on connecting with the audience once again.

"The perfect audience for me are those who don't usually go to the theatre but are dragged there by family or friends… but then they change their minds after watching the performances," he said.

"It's this feeling of being discovered by the audience and discovering the audience at the same time."

New dates to come

The holding of Gnosis was postponed due to the sad demise of Shakih Mubarak Bin Mohammad Al Nahyan yesterday.

New dates will soon be announced.