It is not common knowledge that Akram Khan was snubbed by NBC this summer during the American telecast of the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games in London. NBC replaced Khan’s five-minute dance sequence to the hymn “Abide With Me,” sung by Emile Sandé, with Ryan Seacrest interviewing swimmer Michael Phelps. Danny Boyle had it right though, in tapping Khan to present his work for the nearly 27 million U.S. television viewers. On Oct. 5, as part of Center for the Art of Performance (CAP) at UCLA’s dance series, Los Angeles was privy to witness Khan’s work up-close. The British Bangladeshi artistic director of Akram Khan Company debuted the West Coast premiere of “Vertical Road” (2010) at Royce Hall, with a repeat performance on Saturday evening.
Not as close, however, as audience members would have been at a show during UCLA’s previous seasons. Before the performance, CAP Executive and Artistic Director Kristy Edmunds explained how a few rows of seats in the front of the house had been removed in order to present each artist’s work as they had intended. In other words, people were just too close before.
“Vertical Road,” at 70 minutes sans intermission, picks up in intensity and never lets go. …
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