Lest We Forget: Akram Khan and Tamara Rojo perform together

Akram Khan and Tamara Rojo are set to perform in an unmissable first, for this world premiere, which opens at the Barbican on 2 April 2014. Further Principal casting is also announced today for English National Ballet’s new production Lest We Forget, which commemorates the centenary of the First World War.

2 Apr 2014 – Evening
Russell Maliphant [Second Breath]: Alina Cojocaru / Junor Souza
Akram Khan [Dust]: Tamara Rojo / Akram Khan
Liam Scarlett [No Man’s Land]: Erina Takahashi / James Forbat / Fernanda Oliveira / Max Westwell

3 April 2014 – Matinee
Akram Khan [Dust]: Tamara Rojo / Akram Khan

3 April 2014 – Evening
Russell Maliphant [Second Breath]: Alina Cojocaru / Junor Souza
Akram Khan [Dust]: Tamara Rojo / Akram Khan
Liam Scarlett [No Man’s Land]: Erina Takahashi / James Forbat / Fernanda Oliveira / Max Westwell

5 April 2014 – Evening
Russell Maliphant [Second Breath]: Alina Cojocaru / Junor Souza
Liam Scarlett [No Man’s Land]: Erina Takahashi / James Forbat / Fernanda Oliveira / Max Westwell

This programme should simply not be missed so book now to avoid dissapointment. Further casting to be announced.

Akram Khan’s work Dust is about the empowerment of women in the war, especially as they became the main workforce in the country. As well as 2 April, Tamara and Akram can be seen in both the 3 April matinee and evening shows.

Akram said: “The piece is inspired by two things. First, the concept of a trench, of the young men and old men all going into trenches, and disappearing. The other substantial part was inspired by the women. In WW1 there was a huge social shift towards women. They needed weapons made for the war, they needed a huge workforce. I felt this shift in role was interesting. They knew they would be letting go of fathers, husbands, and sons; they might lose them. Yet they were making weapons that would kill others’ fathers, husbands, and sons. It didn’t matter which side you were on – they both felt loss and death. But in order for someone to live someone else was putting their life on the line. That cyclical thing was what I wanted to explore.”

Russell Maliphant’s Second Breath is about the men and the sacrifice of the men. Principal couples include Alina Cojocaru and Junor Souza (2, 3 (eve) & 5 April) Tamarin Stott and Nathan Young (Further details to follow).

Russell said: “I’m using 20 dancers here, which is the largest number I’ve ever used. The challenge is having a reason to use them all. There is a sense that you need a lot of people, somehow, for the subject – even if you use just two, you know it’s a reference to thousands, millions.”

Liam Scarlett’s piece No Man’s Land is about the relationship between men and the women they leave behind, the loss and longing. Casting includes Tamara Rojo and Esteban Berlanga (Guest artist), Alina Cojocaru and Zdenek Konvalina, Ksenia Ovsyanick and Laurent Liotardo, Angela Wood and Fabian Reimair. Erina Takahashi and James Forbat, Fernanda Oliveira and Max Westwell will perform on 2, 3 (eve) 5 (eve) (Further details to follow).

Liam said: “It’s paying respect to how much people went through. What I’m interested in really is that when the men went off, the women almost took over their roles. And you get these objects that pass between them… a loved one went off to war, but the women were in factories making ammunition, packing explosive into ammunition to be shipped out to them, or making uniforms. In a curious way those objects were the only contact between them. It’s a very lonesome, powerful image. We triumphed and we came through, but it was an intensely sad period.”

Tamara said: “I need the public to see the choreographers of today, and how this company can embrace this new modern language, without threatening what you know of them,” she says. “At the Barbican audiences are very much accustomed to go outside their comfort zone, and I hope we will all be challenged. This subject is so serious that all of these choreographers are treading very reflectively with it. You will see from each of them a different path.”

This world premiere will be a landmark event in British ballet appealing to contemporary dance audiences as well as ballet devotees. This is the first time that Akram Khan and Russell Maliphant have collaborated with a classical ballet company in creating work which fuses the classical ballet traditions with modern contemporary dance. Completing this programme is George Williamson’s Firebird.

Go to set Lest We Forget - In Rehearsal

  • Ksenia Ovsyanick and Begoña Cao in rehearsal for George Williamson's Firebird as part of Lest We Forget. © Laurent Liotardo

  • Tamara Rojo and Esteban Berlanga in rehearsal for a new work by Liam Scarlett as part of Lest We Forget. © Laurent Liotardo

  • The Company in rehearsal for a new work by Akram Khan as part of Lest We Forget. © Laurent Liotardo

  • The Company in rehearsal for a new work by Akram Khan as part of Lest We Forget. © Laurent Liotardo

  • The Company in rehearsal for a new work by Akram Khan as part of Lest We Forget. © Laurent Liotardo

  • Madison Keesler in rehearsal for a new work by Akram Khan as part of Lest We Forget. © Laurent Liotardo

  • Tamarin Stott and Nathan Young in rehearsal for a new work by Russell Maliphant as part of Lest We Forget. © Laurent Liotardo

  • Alina Cojocaru and Junor Souza in rehearsal for a new work by Russell Maliphant as part of Lest We Forget. © Laurent Liotardo

  • Alina Cojocaru and Junor Souza in rehearsal for a new work by Russell Maliphant as part of Lest We Forget. © Laurent Liotardo

  • Alina Cojocaru and Zdenek Konvalina in rehearsal for a new work by Liam Scarlett as part of Lest We Forget. © Laurent Liotardo

  • Alina Cojocaru and Zdenek Konvalina in rehearsal for a new work by Liam Scarlett as part of Lest We Forget. © Laurent Liotardo

  • Ksenia Ovsyanick and Junor Souza in rehearsal for George Wiliamson's Firebird as part of Lest We Forget. © Laurent Liotardo

  • Ksenia Ovsyanick in the title role rehearsing for George Wiliamson's Firebird as part of Lest We Forget. © Laurent Liotardo