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  • zenaedwardsis

Think Tanking with Akram #OneFromTheArchives

Updated: Apr 26

Spring 2018 was warm.

I remember being really fresh in my mind. I had done a little creative and personal house clearing, and was feeling good about the creative opportunities coming my way.

I'd major surgery the year before was also feeling optimistic about getting back to full health with my body, being athletic, running, dancing again. I had already flung myself into salsa dancing three times a week. BUT... I was really excited to be asked by Dannii from the One Taste Collective to be a part of the think tank for Akram Khan's new production, Xenos.

Akram was venturing into spoken word, and the theme was about the one of the genesis, or reasoning on why humans would evolve at all... well that was my take on it.

Everyone in the room had an incredible mind. and thought in tangents from personal experiences about living with the social ramifications of AI, exalting it, but humans inclination towards being obsessed with it; to remote indigenous tribes in the congo and the cosmology of their culture and practices for survival. Not just that though, how they maintained their humanity, and paid homage to their Ancestors. It sounded a little scary but was viscerally instinctive and humbling. And something I could relate to. My experience in the Kalahari desert with Pops Mohamed brought me to my westernized knees more on that later. Each of those examples have one thing in common and that is the body as the messenger - AI having no body sense that is organic, can only 'think' so far. Living in a remote part of a Central African rainforest, where your community is surrounded by all the sound and energies emitted by the natural world, you be nothing but attuned to the body.

What was interesting was how we were to construct, trhough creative play and dialogue, the junction box where the spoken word could be turned into movement. How do you embody a word? Not without intention and not without tonality. Not without the primal urge to move to the SOUND of something, and not just its meaning.

When you look up the word primal, it derives from the word "primus", meaning first . For the body to respond to the first sound wave of a word of a dental explosive, like the word Deity, or a pushed vowel - Open - the neutrality of each muscle is the optimum place to begin your movement from.

Xenos was beautifully crafted experience, that spoke in echos of his family's historical experience during the India and Pakistan partition, and feeling estranged from self. Akram alway had a motif movement that brought you back a base of neutrality, and evoked a feeling for search for an endmof something out there, when really, and excuse the cliché, there really only this ever-present now.

~ Zena~



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