Vertical Road made its debut in Penang in 2010, where Penang Turf Club was the official programme sponsor.
“When you finally create something, the history of how it was made because vague and in lost. You forgot the origins of the ideas” – Akram Khan
With his other award-winning works such as Gnosis, Kaash and Zero Degrees, Akram Khan is one of the most acclaimed choreographers today. The English Dancer directed and choreographed Vertical Road with the aim to discover the origins of ideas.The performance won the Outstanding New Work under The Age Critics Award during the Melbourne International Arts festival in 2010.
Vertical Road started as a dream so fascinating that it propelled Khan onto a journey to explore man’s earthly nature and actions. He began scouting for dancers who can express his artistry or can relate to the project. But to be equipped with a group of talented dancers hailing from Asia, Europe and the Middle East was not enough, Khan had to go through a time-consuming process of planning the structure, transition and meaning of the dance.
After several months of brainstorming that only lead to dead ends, Khan decided to “play”. He put up all his research materials on walls of the dance studio then freely explore the movements. He often trace his inspiration to the Sufi tradition and the Persian poet and philosopher Rumi, which goes like this:
I died from minerality and became vegetable;
And from vegetativeness I died and became animal.
I died from animality and became man.
Then why fear disappearance through death?
Next time I shall die
Bringing forth wings and feathers like angels;
After that, soaring higher than angels –
What you cannot imagine,
I shall be that.
Vertical Road performed during George Town Festival 2011. George Town Festival is one of the major ASEAN arts festival in Malaysia, organised by Joe Sidek Productions Sdn Bhd.