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Indian Classical Dance - Akram Khan et al

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Not ballet of course, but there may be some enthusiasts on here..   Mrs Q and I went to see two performances from the Darbar Festival at Sadler's Wells last week.  The festival was curated by Akram Khan, giving it a strong element of dance as well as the usual classical Indian music, which was what attracted us.  Akram himself gave a performance n Thursday of X, which is in effect a preview of a longer piece called Xenos, which he said will be his last solo work.  The dance was kathak style, with some contemporary overtones, and was excellent, as was the accompanying music, with Western instruments on one side of the stage and Indian on the other.  It was followed by what I can only describe as a drum battle, though it's probably known as a tala, with three different sorts of tabla going hell for leather for about 70 minutes - even Spinal Tap would have baulked at that!  Bamboo flute and tabla pieces concluded a very long but enjoyable evening.  The other performance we saw had two dance works sandwiching a highly virtuosic sitar and tabla raga.  The first dance was a bharata natyam piece with Mavin Khoo, playing a female role.  It was a remarkable performance full of emotion and contrasts - I particularly like the high energy,  angular passages which remind me of karate kata.  The final dance by was Aditi Mandalgas, a renowned kathak practitioner - again,  wonderful  stylised acting surrounding frenzies of foot-stamping , ankle-bell clashing and whirling.. Got a deserved standing ovation from the whole house.


I haven't seen this kind of thing advertised much so went looking - and have discovered the Nehru Centre in Mayfair, who seem to put on regular classical dance performances. I just booked one for free in December, so worth checking out if you fancy something different!

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