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Kathak performance to explore themes of abuse, migration in Birmingham

The two shows called ‘ONE|BIRD’ will be staged at the Birmingham Hippodrome on February 28-29.

Khayyam, who is also the artistic director of the shows, expressed her excitement about bringing the performances to new audiences in the UK. / Image – Supplied

The Amina Khayyam Dance Company (AKDC) is currently presenting a special Kathak performance at the Birmingham Hippodrome in England.

Called ‘ONE,’ the first show features Amina Khayyam’s solo performance. It tells the contemporary stories of migrants tarnished by media and politicians, spreading fear for those risking their lives to make a better future,” as per an AKDC statement.

The second show, called ‘BIRD,’ opens with a silent scream. The show will focus on thoughts and questions – “Will anyone believe me?” and “Where will I go?”-- that cross the minds of several women stuck in abusive relationships. Critically acclaimed ‘BIRD’ won the Lustrum Award at Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2023. 

Earlier performed as a solo like ‘ONE’ until 2022, ‘BIRD’ has since been developed into a longer performance including more dancers. In the piece, high-energy kathak performances weave the story, supported by a live music score by Jonathan Mayer, vocals by Sohini Alam, and Debashish Mukherjee on tabla. 

Khayyam, who is also the artistic director of the shows, expressed her excitement about bringing the performances to new audiences in the UK. Khayyam noted that the idea for ‘BIRD’ emerged during a women’s community group workshop. “A participant asked ‘What happens to a woman when she runs away from domestic abuse?’. In BIRD we explore the social stigma for women in such a situation,” Khayyam said. 

Talking about ‘ONE,’ Khayyam highlighted the negative connotations attached to the words ‘foreigners’, ‘migrants’, and ‘refugees’ due to certain media and political entities for their gains. “These stories are forever relevant but seem even more so in current times. The pieces tell these stories with the compassion and energy of Kathak and the power of the original live music,” Khayyam added.

Aside from the Birmingham shows, they will be staged on March 1 at the North Wall Arts Centre in Oxford. The shows will return to the UK in June with performances on June 4, June 6, and June 7 in London, Derby City, and Newcastle respectively. 
 

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