A year ago, British-born Bangladeshi choreographer and dancer Akram Khan's dance troupe 'The Akram Khan Company' came to Yokohama, Japan, with their famous production Small Country. At that time, there was an opportunity to write in the first light about the extraordinary dance performance of this British personality of Bangladeshi origin, as well as to do a program for the radio of the Citizen Broadcasting Center of Japan. Akram Khan Seba himself was not present in Japan. However, it was possible to make up for the lack of that absence by talking to him on the telephone. He said at the time that he did not go to Japan with the team despite his desire to be busy with the choreography and distribution of a new production.
Then I went to the internet search engine and found out the detailed information about the new service.
Last year was the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I. On this occasion, Akram Khan was requested by the Cultural Department of the British Government to compose a dance drama based on the experience of about 1.5 million Indian soldiers who took part in the First World War. The genius of The Akram Khan Company is the fruit of that request. Like his other choreography, Akram has arranged it through dance without speaking.
Akram recounts the horrific experience of the Indian Army on the battlefield, far away from the country, through an unspoken dance story on Genos. Throughout the 60-minute performance, his solo dance is almost entirely a combination of Western ballet and contemporary dance with the Kathak of India. The way he played the main character, not only the horror of the war, but also the embarrassment of the Indians who went to fight in the enemy's field in a far away country. For example, in the last scene, a soldier covered in mud all over his body, and through dance and expression, he conveys the message of the cruelty of war.
When Akram Khan started choreographing for Xenos, he announced that this would be his last solo stage performance, from then on he would only keep himself busy with choreography. The new work he set out to do after Janos is based on the story of Theophil Gutierrez, a different stage presentation of the famous mid-nineteenth-century opera Giselle, which depicts the deprivation of Bangladeshi garment workers as well as the plight of refugees migrating to Europe.
The National Museum and the National Theater are located on either side of the entrance to the Memorial Square.
Janos has been staged in various cities in Britain since May last year. Then came El Giselle on stage. As a result, I had the idea that the Xenos might be a temporary stage performance, and that its appeal might run out a century after the end of World War I. However, the production was later distributed in a few other European countries besides Britain for two main reasons. The first is to be acclaimed in the media in Britain as well as other countries for its outstanding performances, and the second is Akram Khan's last work as a solo stage performance. For good reason, after finishing the staging in Europe, Janos now has to go to other parts of the world.
That is to say, I will suddenly meet Akram Khan indirectly in Taipei, the capital of Taiwan, but I did not think of that at all.
I went to Taiwan in late September for a few days off. One of the few sights in the capital, Taipei, is the Chiang Kai-shek Memorial, a magnificent statue of Taiwan's founder, as well as a museum. However, there is also the National Museum and the National Theater Mancha, both of which are built in the style of Chinese architecture.
The subway station is also called Chiang Kai-shek Memorial. One day, as soon as I got up from the subway station, my eyes were suddenly caught on a poster pasted on the wall inside the station building. In it, along with the description of the Chinese language, ‘Genos’ was also written in English in large letters. As a result, I no longer had to be a detective to understand that Akram was in Taipei.
But I was a little disappointed to see the date of the stage performance. The first four days of November are scheduled for Xenos' stage performance at the Taipei National Theater. As a result, the message that Akram Khan has not yet arrived in Taipei disappoints me, but on the other hand, the idea that this talented dancer and choreographer of Bangladeshi descent is contributing to make our country more known around the world through his talent has made me happy.