Akram Khan & Tamara Rojo In First Ever Performance Together For Lest We Forget
Akram Khan and Tamara Rojo are set to perform in an unmissable first, for this World Premiere, which opens at the Barbican on 2 April 2014. Further Principal casting is also announced today for English National Ballet’s new production Lest We Forget, which commemorates the centenary of the First World War.
Akram Khan’s work Dust is about the empowerment of women in the war, especially as they became the main workforce in the country. As well as 2 April, Tamara and Akram can be seen in both the 3 April matinee and evening shows.
Akram said: “The piece is inspired by two things. First, the concept of a trench, of the young men and old men all going into trenches, and disappearing. The other substantial part was inspired by the women. In WW1 there was a huge social shift towards women. They needed weapons made for the war, they needed a huge workforce. I felt this shift in role was interesting. They knew they would be letting go of fathers, husbands, and sons; they might lose them. Yet they were making weapons that would kill others’ fathers, husbands, and sons. It didn’t matter which side you were on – they both felt loss and death. But in order for someone to live someone else was putting their life on the line. That cyclical thing was what I wanted to explore.”
Russell Maliphant’s Second Breath is about the men and the sacrifice of the men. Principal couples include Alina Cojocaru and Junor Souza (2, 3 (eve) & 5 April) Tamarin Stott and Nathan Young (Further details to follow).
Russell said: “I’m using 20 dancers here, which is the largest number I’ve ever used. The challenge is having a reason to use them all. There is a sense that you need a lot of people, somehow, for the subject – even if you use just two, you know it’s a reference to thousands, millions.”
Liam Scarlett’s piece No Man’s Land is about the relationship between men and the women they leave behind, the loss and longing. Casting includes Tamara Rojo and Esteban Berlanga (Guest artist), Alina Cojocaru and Zdenek Konvalina, Ksenia Ovsyanick and Laurent Liotardo, Angela Wood and Fabian Reimair. Erina Takahashi and James Forbat, Fernanda Oliveira and Max Westwell will perform on 2, 3 (eve) 5 (eve) (Further details to follow).
Liam said: “It’s paying respect to how much people went through. What I’m interested in really is that when the men went off, the women almost took over their roles. And you get these objects that pass between them… a loved one went off to war, but the women were in factories making ammunition, packing explosive into ammunition to be shipped out to them, or making uniforms. In a curious way those objects were the only contact between them. It’s a very lonesome, powerful image. We triumphed and we came through, but it was an intensely sad period.”
Tamara said: “I need the public to see the choreographers of today, and how this company can embrace this new modern language, without threatening what you know of them,” she says. “At the Barbican audiences are very much accustomed to go outside their comfort zone, and I hope we will all be challenged. This subject is so serious that all of these choreographers are treading very reflectively with it. You will see from each of them a different path.”
This World Premiere will be a landmark event in British ballet appealing to contemporary dance audiences as well as ballet devotees. This is the first time that Akram Khan and Russell Maliphant have collaborated with a classical ballet company in creating work which fuses the classical ballet traditions with modern contemporary dance. Completing this programme is George Williamson’s Firebird.
Wed 2 – Sat 12 Apr 2014 (12 performances)
7.30pm; (2.30pm and 7.30pm on Thu 3 Apr and Saturdays; 3.00pm only on Sun 6 Apr, no performances on Monday or Tuesday)
2hr 55 minutes / including intervals
George Williamson – Firebird
Choreographer George Williamson
Music /Composer Firebird 1945 Suite by Igor Stravinsky
Costume Design David Bamber
Lighting Design Nicholas Holdridge
Set Design David Bamber and George Williamson in collaboration with John Campbell Scenic Studio
Approx. Running Time: 25 minutes
Russell Maliphant – Second Breath
Choreographer Russell Maliphant
Lighting Designer Michael Hulls
Composer Andy Cowton
Orchestrator Ben Foskett
Costume Designer Stevie Stewart
Collaborative Assistant Dana Fouras
Assistant Carys Staton
Approx. Running Time: 20 minutes
Liam Scarlett – No Man’s Land
Choreographer Liam Scarlett
Music/Composer Excerpts from Harmonies Poétiques et Religieuses by Franz Liszt, arranged and orchestrated by Gavin Sutherland
Designs Jon Bausor
Lighting Designer Paul Keogan
Approx. Running Time: 30 minutes
Akram Khan – Dust
Choreographer Akram Khan
Composer Jocelyn Pook
Dramaturg Ruth Little
Costume Design Kimie Nakano
Lighting Design Fabiana Piccioli
Set Design Sander Loonen
Rehearsal Directors Jose Agudo and Andrej Petrovic
Approx. Running Time 20 minutes
About the Barbican
A world-class arts and learning organisation, the Barbican pushes the boundaries of all major art forms including dance, film, music, theatre and visual arts. Its creative learning programme further underpins everything it does. Over 1.5 million people pass through the Barbican’s doors annually, hundreds of artists and performers are featured, and more than 300 staff work onsite. The architecturally renowned centre opened in 1982 and comprises the Barbican Hall, the Barbican Theatre, the Pit, Cinemas One, Two and Three, Barbican Art Gallery, a second gallery The Curve, foyers and public spaces, a library, Lakeside Terrace, a glasshouse conservatory, conference facilities and three restaurants. The City of London Corporation is the founder and principal funder of the Barbican Centre.
The Barbican is home to Resident Orchestra, London Symphony Orchestra; Associate Orchestra, BBC Symphony Orchestra; Associate Ensembles the Academy of Ancient Music and Britten Sinfonia, and Associate Producer Serious. Our Artistic Associates include Boy Blue Entertainment, Cheek by Jowl and Michael Clark Company. International Associates are Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra of Amsterdam, New York Philharmonic, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Gewandhaus Orchestra Leipzig and Jazz at Lincoln Center.