Akram Khan (b. 1974)

If Not, Why Not? (2002)

Akram Khan is one of the most acclaimed choreographers of his generation working in Britain today. Born in London into a family of Bangladeshi origin, he began dancing at seven and studied with the renowned kathak dancer and teacher Sri Pratap Pawar.

Khan began presenting solo performances of his work in the late 1990s, maintaining his commitment to classical kathak as well as developing modern work. He was Choreographer-in-Residence and later Associate Artist at the Southbank Centre London. Khan is currently an Associate Artist of MC2: Grenoble and Sadler's Wells, London in a special international co-operation.

DESH (2011), Khan's first full-length contemporary solo, is a part-autobiographical work which is at once intimate yet epic. Khan's latest contemporary ensemble work Vertical Road (2010) and recent creation Gnosis (2009), where he combined his classical Indian and contemporary dance roots, received critical acclaim and continue to tour worldwide.

Khan's notable company works are bahok (2008), originally produced in collaboration with National Ballet of China; Variations (2006), a production with London Sinfonietta in celebration of Steve Reich’s 70th birthday; ma (2004), with text by Hanif Kureishi; Kaash (2002), a collaboration with artist Anish Kapoor and composer Nitin Sawhney.

Besides his company work, Khan also created duets: In-I (2008) with Oscar-winning actress Juliette Binoche, Sacred Monsters (2006) with internationally acclaimed dancer Sylvie Guillem, and award-winning zero degrees (2005) with Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui in collaboration with Antony Gormley and Nitin Sawhney.

In 2006 Khan was invited by Kylie Minogue to choreograph a section of her Showgirl concert, which opened in Australia in November that year. He has also been chosen to choreograph a section of the London 2012 Olympics Opening Ceremony.

Khan has been the recipient of numerous awards throughout his career including the Laurence Olivier Award, the prestigious ISPA (International Society for the Performing Arts) Distinguished Artist Award, South Bank Sky Arts Award, UK Critics' Circle National Dance Award and The Age Critics’ Award (Australia).

Khan was awarded an MBE for services to dance in 2005. He is also an Honorary Graduate of Roehampton and De Montfort Universities, and an Honorary Fellow of Trinity Laban.