Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Rave!: Akram Khan's Vertical Road

I am getting more and more fascinated with the art of dance nowadays. There are several reasons behind this new appreciation for the art form:

1. I can't dance gracefully. Sure I can swing the hips and bring the house down but graceful? Nope.
2. Dancers' bodies are more often than not slender and muscular.
3. They can express frail human emotions that even words, sometimes, struggle to represent.

Anyway, a couple of months back, my friends and I took a trip down to Singapore to watch this dance production "Vertical Road." I didn't put much thought into Singapore Arts Festival but when I saw the description of this one particular event? I just couldn't say yes fast enough:

Vertical Road draws inspiration from the Sufi tradition and the Persian poet and philosopher Rumi. Exploring man's earthly nature, his rituals and the consequences of human actions, Vertical Road becomes a meditation on the journey from gravity to grace.

It's Rumi, yo. So, off to Singapore we went and we watched.

image courtesy of: Akram Khan Company

The whole show was around 70 minutes in length but how I remembered it, time was completely subjective. Certain scenes made it deliciously slow. Others made time a cheeky adolescent whose main intention is to not get caught. There were even scenes when I felt I was in a mass lecture listening to a lecturer speaking in bees, completely incomprehensible. It was a contemporary dance show, I get it.

image courtesy of: Akram Khan Company

Still, my love for Rumi kept me wide eyed. I couldn't get enough of the movements and the raw emotions bursting forth from the dancers. I was reminded of so many Rumi-esque ideas that I felt light and heady, and when the scene was good... God, it was brilliant. I heard myself letting out the tiniest gasp here and there. It was overwhelming. I'm not ashamed to share the fact that I teared up, the very same way I did when I read works of Rumi and so many other enlightened poets. The very same way when I read works of literature inspired by the search for the Beloved. Tears fell. I was consumed.

image courtesy of: Akram Khan Company

It was money well spent. Now, if only we didn't find out later that Vertical Road was in fact in Malaysia for the Penang Arts Festival earlier in the year. Gaaah, promotions people, promotions! -____-

Footnote: Watch it if you ever stumble into one of their performances!

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