Father: Vision of the Floating World
2020 marks the centenary of the birth of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, statesman and spiritual founder of the nation of Bangladesh. As part of a year of celebrations, Akram Khan was invited to choreograph a short piece to open the Opening Ceremony.
The piece takes as its framework audio recordings of the Sheikh’s speeches in 1971, when atrocities were being committed by the Pakistani armed forces in resisting the formation of Bangladesh as an independent nation. A highly charged work resulted, with the original audio woven with the music of Vincenzo Lamagna and featuring the Bangladeshi soloist Sohini Alam. 28 local dancers rehearsed for a month with artists from AKC to learn Akram’s choreography, with a production team from London joining them to stage the piece.
The international profile of the event and attendance of many heads of state forced a move from Ramna Racecourse, site of the original speech, to one that could safely support the crowds anticipated. With a temporary venue built to accommodate the expected crowd of 250,000, Coronavirus led to the event being filmed and broadcast to the nation instead. It was great to be able to stage the final performance as the culmination of all the hard work invested, and an even wider audience was able to share this powerful work.
Photographs by Asif Muhammad Musaddeque