Amina Khayyam Dance Company Takes YERMA on Tour This Autumn

Amina Khayyam Dance Company Takes YERMA on Tour This AutumnAMINA KHAYYAM DANCE COMPANY, the UK-based contemporary dance company who use KATHAK as the core narrative in making new work, is based in the south of England and run by its founder and artistic director, Amina Khayyam.

In October and November, the company will be performing its unique dance/theatre interpretation of YERMA, the famous 1934 'tragic poem' written by the Spanish dramatist and poet, Federico García Lorca. In re-imagining the location of YERMA from early rural 20th century Spain to modern inner-city Britain, Amina has ensured this very topical tale resonates with audiences here and abroad.

YERMA is about a young woman, Yerma, who's tormented by the social stigma of being in a childless marriage. So obsessed is Yerma with the notion of having a child so that she fits into what she considers to be her rightful role in society, and so frustrated is she by her plight, that she is driven to commit the ultimate crime. Amina Khayyam's version is performed to spectacular live music played by musicians on tabla, cello and vocals.

"Although the play was written in 1934," says Amina, "there are so many women around the world today in numerous different cultures who find themselves in similar situations; they are under tremendous pressure to 'do the right thing' and if they seemingly don't conform to what society has decided are the rules, they will find themselves marginalised, pushed out and ultimately without family or support. I feel very strongly about women's issues and stories and I'm fascinated about how society differs around the world even though there are so many common factors. I think Lorca's play is significant and I hope audiences will enjoy our contemporary take on it."

YERMA tour dates:

October 25th Newcastle, Northern Performing Academy 0191 440 4124 www.gemarts.org
October 31st SPAIN - Malaga, La Caja Blanca +34 951 92 60 98
November 8th Woking Surrey, Rhoda McGaw Theatre 01483 545 999 www.atgtickets.com/venues/rhoda-mcgaw-theatre
November 12th Brighton Dome 0844 871 7645 www.brightondome.org
December 5th INDIA - Mumbai, NCPA Centre Stage Festival www.ncpamumbai.com/whats-on-boxoffice

Choreography: Amina Khayyam
Music: Tarun Jasani, Debasish Mukherjee, Amina Khayyam
Dancers: Lucy Teed, Jane Chan, Seetal Gahir and Amina Khayyam
Musicians: Debasish Mukherjee (tabla), Lucy Rahman (vocals), Sebastian Comberti (cello)
Costume: Keith Khan

Born in Sylhet, Bangladesh, Amina Khayyam trained in Kathak in the UK, initially with Alpana Sengupta, and later from one of Kathak's finest exponent Sushmita Ghosh, under whose guidance she made her professional debut in 2001 at the Purcell Room, Southbank Centre. Her performance ranges from classical Kathak to multi-media performances such as the principle performer in the Akademi/South Bank's outdoor spectacle Escapade and in International Arts' and Forum for Laboratory Theatres of Manipuri's production of Macbeth-Stage of Blood on the River Thames.

She has toured extensively with companies such as Sonia Sabri, and has worked with dancers/choreographers such as Nahid Siddiqui, Darshan Singh Bhuller, Jonathan Lunn and more. Amina uses Kathak as the core of her work; in Laal Shaari, which was selected for ROH2 Firsts, she used live art approaches to controversially subvert the Kathak form. In addition to touring Yerma, Amina has just finished making a full production of A Thousand Faces and is in development with a mid scale production Amad, both due to tour in 2014/15.

DANCERS:

JANE CHAN trained in Chinese classical and folk dance, contemporary dance and studied Kathak under Amina Khayyam. She is the London correspondent for the Hong Kong Dance Journal as well as a freelance project assistant. She is currently training in Stilts, Qi Gong and Wing Chun. She has performed at the Canada Powell River and USA Montana International Music Festival (1996), Shanghai International Children's Cultural & Arts Festival (2000), The Olympic Games, Beijing (2008), Equestrian Events among others.

SEETAL GAHIR started her dance training in Bharatanatyam with Devika Rao in Leeds and has been involved in many performance opportunities at both community and professional level. She also trained in Hindustani classical vocal music, and studied opera and western music with the Yorkshire Young Musician scheme. She began learning Kathak with Amina Khayyam while studying at University College London and, with her strong music background, took to the North Indian dance style quickly and effectively. Seetal has also performed with companies at the West Yorkshire Playhouse, with the National Youth Music Theatre and South Asian Arts UK.

LUCY TEED gained her dance degree at the University of Surrey and combined further study with performance with Phoenix Dance Education and Chichester University's Mapdance Company, where she worked with a variety of choreographers including Amina Khayyam and Alpana Sengupta. She continued her Kathak training with Amina Khayyam and joined the company working on a range of performance, community and education projects within both contemporary and Kathak.

MUSICIANS:

Debasish Mukherjee (tabla) trained with his father the renowned tabla exponent Pandit Kanai Mukherjee of Benares Gharana (house). Debasish has performed at many prestigious festivals throughout India and abroad. He has developed a unique and critically acclaimed style; he believes that tabla is not just a percussion instrument but a musical instrument with melody as well as rhythm. Debasish has performed with great artists such as the legendary Pandit Birju Maharaj, Pandit Rajan Mishra and Shajan Mishra, Ustad Aashish Khan, Daneal Hope, Pandit Shyamal Chatterjee and more. He regularly performs with Amina Khayyam Company and recent projects include Laal Shaari and One which toured the UK and abroad.

Sebastian Comberti (cello) has been involved in all fields of music including solo recitals and recordings, chamber music, chamber and 'period instrument' orchestras. For several seasons Sebastian was cellist with London Contemporary Dance, and was a featured soloist in the West End run and recordings of Song and Dance.

Composer Tarun Jasani is a sarod player and teacher who has performed at numerous events and festivals in the UK and abroad including the largest Indian Classical music festival outside of India, the Darbar festival. Tarun has also performed in various cross-cultural collaborations including a tour of Spain with the legendary Flamenco dancer Manuela Carrasco, performances with Kora players from Mali, Latin Jazz musicians from Cuba and Sufi musicians from Iran. With a distinguished deep tone and resonance, the sarod is one of the most popular, melodious and traditional north Indian stringed instruments.

Lucy Rahman is a vocalist of international repute. She was trained in semi-classical Indian music in Bangladesh and is now based in the UK. She is one of the lead singers of the jazz band Grand Union Orchestra and has performed all over the country. Lucy was born into a family of musicians and artists which included her father, Sheikh Lutfor Rahman, who received awards from Bangladesh, India and Russia for his contribution to music. Lucy has performed in countless stage, TV and radio shows in both Bangladesh and the UK and as a semi-classical singer in the UK, US, and Europe.

Photo of Amina Khayyam in 'Yerma' by Vipul Sangoi.

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