In celebration and recognition of their collaborations over the years, Akram Khan and Nitin Sawhney, joined forces again to take a new journey through episodes of past work. Confluence, the finale of Svapnagata was a theatrical affair which included a live band, fronted by the luminously beautiful voice of 21 year old Nicki Wells and interactive background visuals by Yeast Culture.
Embracing both their contemporary and classical backgrounds, the two set the scene with some animated dialogue lamenting UK immigration control (Bahok). The dancing that ensued, evoked the lethargy and sleepiness that one experiences when stuck in a long, drawn out queue after a long flight. A young woman falls asleep on her feet, her partner propping her up and hanging on to her to the point where somehow her legs end up entwined around his neck and a Shiva like, multi-limbed, being comes into form and dances. Akram didn't actually do that much dancing himself, but when he did, he was spellbinding. A percussive call and response between himself, dressed in kathak ankle bells and a tabla player, showed off his classical expertise and incredible footwork.
An excerpt from Kaash, where he and five others, sliced the air like martial artists producing a menacing display across the stage, made all the more so by the fiery thunder of tabla and vocals. An interplay of shadows, of Nitin on guitar in the corner (creating the most extraordinary rhythm and sound) and Akrams wind-vane dance, twirling and whirling, seeming to become faster than humanly possible, brought the end of the show and the audience to a standing ovation.
The two possess a magnificent, creative chemistry and there are sure to be future collaborations - if only they'd whittle down the long-winded dialogue and sitting around that seems to get in the way of an otherwise mesmerising performance.