Oscar and BAFTA-winning artist and designer Tim Yip (葉錦添) joined the team to create the set, illustrations and staging, dreaming up everything from a 3m tall white chair to an fantastical forest brought to life through animation, where a pair of shoelaces can transform themselves into a boat, a friendly elephant and a giant tree that Khan climbs as well as a monsoon storm and a tank. Then there is satiny sculptural installation of silk ribbons that fill the stage — representing rain, the ocean, the air — in which Khan swings upside down, fluidity in motion and adrift in space.
The piece was created after a year of research both in Britain and in Bangladesh, and its premiere in 2011 was timed to coincide with the 40th anniversary of Bangladesh’s independence from Pakistan. Khan and his creative team made an eight-day trip to Bangladesh together in November 2010, visiting Dhaka and Khulna, to help them conjure the sights, sounds and stories of the country.
The show runs 80 minutes, with no intermission. After Saturday night’s performance there will be a question-and-answer session with Khan.
While the top tickets, at NT$3,000, are pricier than most of the Novel Dance series productions, though not for the National, this is one show that is not to be missed. The word that most frequently crops up in reviews and descriptions of the piece is magical. If you only see one more dance show this year, make it DESH.
And while Novel Hall’s future may be in doubt, here’s hoping that Khan will be back in Taipei soon with his latest creation, the ensemble piece iTMOi (in the mind of Igor), an examination of Igor Stravinsky’s Le Sacre du Printemps (The Rite of Spring), which premiered in May in Grenoble, France.
This story has been corrected since it was first published to reflect the move of the show to the National Theater.