By Royona Mitra
Via seven key case reviews from Khan's oeuvre, this ebook demonstrates how Akram Khan's 'new interculturalism' is a problem to the Eighties western 'intercultural theatre' undertaking, as a extra nuanced and embodied method of representing Othernesses, from his personal place of the opposite.
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Extra resources for Akram Khan: Dancing New Interculturalism
In the Natyashastra, rasa theory is theorised as a conceptual framework for the relationship between art (across multiple disciplines) and its reception. The word rasa in Sanskrit means juice, or the flavourful extract derived from ingesting a fruit or any kind of cuisine. In using the term rasa in the context of the reception of art, a parallel is thus evoked in the Natyashastra, between the consumption of food and the reception of art. The physical and emotional satisfaction that can be derived from a flavourful meal is thus compared to the ‘aesthetic delight – a state of joy characterized by emotional plenitude’ that can accompany an immersive encounter with a piece of art (Meduri 3).
Despite sustaining their tightly knit Bengali community life in Britain, Khan’s parents were thus unique in ensuring that alongside nurturing his appreciation and understanding of Bengali culture, Khan’s childhood was also immersed in engendering a respect for trans-ethnic interactions and intercultural dialogue. This was reflected in Anwara Khan’s keenness for Khan to not only perform Bengali folk dance but to formalise his dance training through enrolling him in kathak classes. Consequently, at the age of seven a Muslim Bangladeshi Khan enrolled at the National Academy of Indian Dance (NAID) in London to train in kathak under the tutelage of the Hindu Indian maestro Sri Pratap Pawar.
In the latter instance new interculturalism becomes an interventionist aesthetic and an embodied, political and philosophical way of thinking and being within oneself and ultimately shapes interactions with others. New interculturalism, British multiculturalism and hybridity Before identifying the newness in Khan’s interculturalism, it is vital to delineate between the noun interculturalism and its adjectival form, intercultural. The adjective, specifically when linked to theatre, refers to ‘a genre, a particular way of doing theatre’ that was popularised in the 1970s and 80s by Western theatre-makers like Brook and others, as discussed above.