Akram Khan MBE is one of the most celebrated and respected dance artists of today- and Young Actors Company were lucky enough to interview him as part of their In Common project, celebrating our shared local history.
Akram grew up in Morden and still lives here with his family. He generously took an hour out of his busy schedule to chat with Young Actors Company members, here our Creative Producer Andy Alty lets us in on the conversation…
What an amazing man! In 60 short minutes, Akram told us so much about his life and work as an artist. From his childhood years locked away in the family garage practising Kathak dance in secret, his teenage days in Morden staying clear of the National Front (who had an office close to the station), his travels around the world performing The Mahabarata with the Peter Brook Company to his current artistic practice and his passion for making dance, this was a masterclass for the Act Three members who were lucky enough to interview him. As one of the group said, “it wasn’t just about how we make theatre, it was about how to live your life.”
This fascinating interview covered a huge range of topics; his early heroes (Michael Jackson was a big influence), his experience as a British Bangladeshi, (“Writers weren’t writing about brown people but dance was all about the body and the skill you had”), whether he felt he had missed out on his childhood because of what he called his, “obsession with dance” and why he bunked off school for a whole year – and what happened when his parents found out.
Watch snippets of our interview….
What impressed all of us most was how down to earth and approachable he was, how he encouraged us to carry on pursuing our own creative ideas together, whatever our background or circumstances. He also made a passionate plea for the support for the industry at a time of crisis:
“The arts are important. The young generation need to be connected to them and I’ll do anything I can to support freelance artists and organisations like this- because its the oldest ritual of coming together to share stories.”
Thank you Akram, you really inspired us. We hope you’ll come along next summer to see the production we’re making.
Andy Alty, Creative Producer Nov 20