The State Opera


"A masterpiece, the choreographer's greatest show yet." (The Observer)

Akram Khan Company


The title of this autobiographic piece means “homeland” in Bengali. The body of Akram Khan, a delicate and charismatic dancer-choreographer, turns into a central spot on stage – a spot where meanings of such words as land, nation, resistance and fusion cross. Akram has based the piece on his experience and memories of traveling between England and Bangladesh: two countries so different from one another to provoke surrealist experiences. Intimate and epic at once, DESH reveals the fragility of one man facing the strength of determination of human spirit, this strength that is so often examined in the rhythm of labour, dreams, regeneration and the desire to survive. In a sensitive and foresightful way, the ingenious artist reaches beyond his own life story. The piece is a strong reflection of issues of our contemporary world, which more and more desperately struggles to understand transnationalism and the identity of the global citizen. Akram has created this feature solo with visual artist Tim Yip (Academy Award Winner for film design), light designer Michael Hulls (Sadler’s Wells Associate Artist), writer and poet Karthika Nair and composer Jocelyn Pook (holder of Laurence Olivier Award). DESH received the Laurence Olivier Award for the Best New Dance Production in 2012.

Akram Khan (UK) is one of the most famous choreographers of his generation. A native Londoner with Bangladeshi roots, he began dancing at the age of seven and studied the traditional Indian dance kathak. At the end of the 1990s Akram presented his first kathak solo, while developing his interest in contemporary dance. He was choreographer in residence and later Associate Artist at the Southbank Centre London. Currently he is Associate Artist at MC2: Grenoble and Sadler's Wells, London in the framework of special international cooperation. The central works of the Akram Khan Company include the production of Vertical Road (presented in 2011 at TANEC PRAHA), Gnosis and others. In addition to his own works, Akram has collaborated on projects with artists from many spheres, for example Juliette Binoche, Sylvie Guillem and Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui. In 2006 he created concert choreography for Kylie Minogue and last year was chosen to create the choreography for the opening ceremonies of the Summer Olympic Games in London. Over the course of his career he has won many awards, including the Laurence Olivier Prize, the ISPA Distinguished Artist Award (2011, NY), the South Bank Sky Arts Award for Dance (2011, UK), the Critics' Circle National Dance Award and The Age Critics’ Award (Australia).

Direction, choreography, performing: Akram Khan

Visual design: Tim Yip

Music composition: Jocelyn Pook

Light design: Michael Hulls

Stories imagined by: Karthika Nair, Akram Khan

Written by: Karthika Nair, PolarBear, Akram Khan

Dramaturge: Ruth Little

Creative acting director: Zoë Nathenson

Eshita’s Voice: Sreya Andrisha Gazi

Jui’s Voice: Eesha Desai

Visual animation created by: Yeast Culture

Set construction: Sander Loonen (Arp Theatre)

Costume supervisor: Kimie Nakano

Technical director: Fabiana Piccioli

Sound designer: Nicolas Faure

Technical coordinator: Sander Loonen

Sound engineer: Marcus Hyde

Technicians: Stephane Dejours, John Valente

Video: Sander Loonen

Stage managers: Giles Metcalfe, Peter Swikker or Natan Rosseel

Rehearsal director: Jose Agudo

Tour Manager: Mashitah Omar

Producer: Farooq Chaudhry

Akram Khan gratefully acknowledges the contribution of the following artists: Damien Jalet (devised Painted Head Sequence with Akram Khan), Leesa Gazi (Culture Coordinator / Voice Artist), Steve Parr (music recording and mixing), Samuel Lefeuvre, Nicola Monaco, Andrei Nazarenko, Sebastien Ramirez, RootlessRoot (Linda Kapetanea & Jozef Frucek), Shantala Shivalingappa, Kate Braithwaite, Sue Buckmaster, Renee Castle, Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui, Daniel Hart, Syed Shamsul Haq, Chris Janschke, Labik Kamal, Urmee Mazher, Bhasker Patel, Shamsur Rahman and the singers Sohini Alam, Natacha Atlas, Melanie Pappenheim, Jeremy Schonfield and Tanja Tzarovska

Akram Khan is an Associate Artist of: MC2: Grenoble and Sadler’s Wells, London in a special international co-operation

The creation of the work was sponsored by: COLAS

The creation of the work was co-produced by: MC2: Grenoble, Curve Leicester, Sadler’s Wells London, Théâtres de la Ville de Luxembourg, Concertgebouw Brugge

The work was produced during residencies at: Curve, Leicester, MC2: Grenoble

The work was created with the support of: Arts Council England, Bangladesh High Commission, London

Special thanks to: Michel Orier, Paul Kerryson, Alistair Spalding, Béatrice Abeille Robin, Mr & Mrs Khan, Raihana Ahmad, Shahidul Alam, Eeshita Azad, British Council Bangladesh, Ruby Ghuznavi (textile curator), Irene Lu, Tareque Masud, Ramendu Majumdar (ITI), Susan Mearns (ActionAid), NariMaitree, Eela Muhaimin, Shlomo, Anne-Marie Bigby, Amy Hollis, Gemma Ottey and Yohan Zeitoun

Length: 80 min.


This production is not performed at the present time.


The cast is not known yet.