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Akram Khan – Dancer & Choreographer

Akram Khan MBE is a London-born dancer and choreographer of Bangladeshi descent.

Akram and his company have collaborated with the likes of Kylie Minogue and Florence and the Machine, as well as performing at the London Olympics opening ceremony.

See, Make & Do is all about getting families to experience the arts and explore their creativity. What inspired you to follow a career in the arts?
To be honest with you, my parents, especially my mother. Without my parents, it would have been really difficult. I wouldn’t be here in the arts today, if they were not so supportive with my dream.

What’s the best piece of advice you received on your way up?
Don’t expect, just do. The moment you expect reward, it contaminates the doing of it. If there’s a purity to the doing, then what you expect may come.

What advice would you give to anyone starting out on a creative journey?
Don’t just focus on the form which is your world. Listen to the whole world around you, because that will feed back into your form. Creativity lies in everything, in everything you see and experience. Don’t go tunnel vision.

When you get stuck on a creative problem, how do you find a solution?
When I get stuck on a creative problem, an obstacle, I try to go through it, not around it – and I do it with the help of my collaborators. If you ignore the problem, it doesn’t disappear and eventually it will reveal itself on stage, and then you’re in trouble.

If you had the time, what new creative project would you like to pursue?
I would like to go to villages in rural parts of the world to work with nomads and pygmies, to learn from them about the world. I think [in the west] we’re in a plastic world right now. I would love to experience being amongst tribes that are interconnected to nature, a bit like being an anthropologist.

The world première of Akram Khan’s Chotto Xenos – a child-friendly reimagining of his hugely successful solo show XENOS – is being staged at DanceEast on Friday 21 February.