From my seat towards the back of the Quays theatre, I could see not only the brilliantly energetic performance on show in Akram Khan’s Chotto Desh, but also the wonderful view of an audience totally captivated and locked in to the dance.
People perched on the edges of their seats, leaning as close towards the stage as they could – I don’t think anybody blinked for a full hour.
The show is an adaptation of Akram Khan’s Desh, which was an instant hit with audiences and critics alike back in 2011. Now the show has been adapted for children aged 7+ and their families. The audience was filled with children who all danced their way in to the the theatre and skipped out again at the end, beaming about what they had just seen.
It’s visually engaging and accessible in a way that I have found dance often isn’t. At no point during the show was I left wondering what was happening, and the clever use of projections and shadows totally immersed me in the world that was being created on the stage.
Before the show, I asked what people expected to see. Some, clearly more familiar with the dance scene than myself, had a pretty solid understanding of what might be on offer;
“All I know is that it’s an adaptation of Desh, but it might still be a story about learning your heritage and coming to terms with being a second generation immigrant”
(a spot on analysis of the narrative from one audience member, which I would do well to top or expand upon).
Others had been intrigued by the idea of the show, knowing very little about what to expect but displaying the intrepid spirit of adventure which Week 53 brings about in people;
“I thought the family would probably enjoy it so we came along to see what it was all about”, one man explained. Whilst another told me that the clips on YouTube that he had seen were enough to sell the idea to him and his children.
After the show people were much more forthcoming with their assessment of the evenings entertainment than they had been going in.
“It was a really imaginative way of adapting an already imaginative performance”
“It was very enjoyable, and totally different to the type of thing we’d usually come and see”
Perhaps the stand out comment of the night came from one girl that summed up the performance by saying, “I love coming to the theatre and getting lost in a performance, and feeling the magic” – the magic that she mentions is indeed tangible in the room, and will no doubt leave many of the children in the audience tonight as dance fans for life.
Written by Adam Brabbin