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Akram Khan

Michael Berkeley's guests is dancer and choreographer Akram Khan. He introduces music by Mussorgsky and Stravinsky, plus performance poetry by Kate Tempest.

Akram Khan is hardly ever still; an international star, he spins around the world with his dance company - just this last month he's been performing in Santa Barbara, Corby, Moscow, Seattle, Spain, Austria... Born in London, the son of a Bangladeshi restaurant owner, Khan was talent-spotted at the age of 13 by director Peter Brook, who cast him in the RSC production of the Mahabharata - which led to his first international tour on stage. Now just into his forties, Akram Khan has won numerous international dance awards, including the Olivier. In 2012 he choreographed and danced in the opening ceremony of the London Olympics. He's collaborated with prima ballerina Sylvie Guillem, with sculptor Anthony Gormley, and worked with the National Ballet of China. And he's choreographed for Kylie Minogue. He says 'The reason I dance - is because of music!'

In Private Passions, Akram Khan tells Michael Berkeley about his childhood, when his aunties would gather and sing till 3am, and require the exhausted young Akram to accompany them on the tabla drums. He reveals why he decided to become a dancer, not a musician. And he talks frankly about trying to be a good father to his two young children now, and how they have transformed his life. Musical choices include Mussorgsky, Stravinsky's Rite of Spring, performance poetry by Kate Tempest, and a Flamenco protest song from the Spanish Civil War.

Produced by Elizabeth Burke
A Loftus production for BBC Radio 3.

Available now

32 minutes

Music Played

  • Igor Stravinsky

    The Rite of Spring (Introduction)

    Orchestra: Cleveland Orchestra. Conductor: Pierre Boulez.
  • Zakir Hussain


    Performer: Zakir Hussain.
  • Modest Mussorgsky

    The Old Castle (Pictures at an Exhibition)

    Music Arranger: Maurice Ravel. Orchestra: Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra. Conductor: Sir Simon Rattle.
  • Heiner Goebbels

    The Absence of Time (Ashes and Snow)

    Performer: Samuel Vigoda. Ensemble: Eastwestern String Ensemble.
  • Isaac Albéniz

    Asturias (Suite Espanola)

    Performer: Andrés Segovia.
  • Kate Tempest

    Brand New Ancients

    Performer: Kate Tempest.
  • Trent Reznor

    Hand Covers Bruise

    Composer: Atticus Ross. Performer: Trent Reznor. Performer: Atticus Ross.
  • Sílvia Pérez Cruz

    Gallo Rojo, Gallo Negro

    Performer: Sílvia Pérez Cruz.


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