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Great Indian mythology showcased through enchanting forms of dance
Akram Khan Dance Company journeys across boundaries to create uncompromising artistic narratives. They produce thoughtful, provocative and ambitious dance productions for the international stage fusing human themes and works with others to take them to new and unexpected places - embracing and working with other cultures and disciplines.
Gnosis is a recent creation by Akram Khan in which he combines his classical Indian and contemporary dance roots. It begins as Khan revisits the classical motifs of two earlier works, Polaroid Feet andTarana.
Drawing from sources both ancient and modern, Gnosis is also inspired by the Hindu epic Mahabharata, in particular the story of Gandhari, the wife of the blind king who blindfolds herself for life to share his journey.
Khan is accompanied on stage by an ensemble of exceptional musicians from around the world and acclaimed guest artist Fang-Yi Sheu from Taiwan.
Scene 1- Ritual of Birth
In the Mahabharata, Gandhari is the devout daughter of the king of Gandhara (now Kandahar). Forced to marry a blind prince, she blindfolds herself forever. She prays to Lord Shiva to give her children, and her prayers are answered with the birth of 100 sons and a daughter.
Scene 2 - Play of Innocence
The eldest of the sons, Duryodhana, is destined to be the crown prince. He grows from a child into a young man under the guidance of his blindfolded mother.
Scene 3 - Greed and Power
Duryodhana grows into a powerful man. Ambitious and greedy, he challenges his cousins, the Pandavas, to a game of dice, and wins their kingdom and their wealth. The two families fight a bloody war, which lasts 18 days. When Duryodhana asks for Gandhari’s blessing in battle, she refuses to grant it, believing the war to be wrong.
Scene 4 - Transformation from Man to Beast
The brutal war transforms Duryodhana from a man into a beast. All morality is abandoned and humanity dissolves into chaos. Every one of Gandhari's children is killed, with Duryodhana the last to die.
Scene 5 - Mourning and Fire
In her grief at the destruction of the war, Gandhari retreats into the Himalayan wilderness, where she dies with her husband and sister-in-law in a forest fire.
Akram dedicates this performance to his guru, Sri Pratap Pawar and to all the other
storytellers who continue the fight to tell the myriad of wonderful myths to the audiences of today.