THE choreographer behind one of the most iconic sequences of the London 2012 opening ceremony is to headline Scotland’s biggest ever celebration of dance next year.
London-born Akram Khan masterminded the spectacular sequence which saw more than 50 dancers perform a piece depicting the struggle between life and death while Emeli Sandé sang Abide With Me.
Now Akram – who has also been hired to choreograph dances for Kylie Minogue’s live shows – and his company have been confirmed for a headline performance when the British Dance Edition event comes to Scotland for the first time.
Next year will also be the first time in the 15-year history of the biennial event that it will be held in two different locations – Edinburgh and Glasgow.
The King’s Theatre, where he will be appearing with his own dance company in a brand new 65-minute show, is only one of a string of major venues in the two cities which will be used in the course of the four-day event, which will run from 30 January to 2 February.
Others include the Assembly Rooms, the Festival and Traverse theatres, and Dance Base in Edinburgh, as well as the Barrowland Ballroom in Glasgow.
The event is aimed at showcasing dance companies and performers from around Britain to producers and promoters from all over the world. More than 350 delegates are expected to flock to the event, which will include daily performances which will be open to the public as well as the dance industry professionals.
The combined programming budgets of the delegates expected to attend is said to be worth more than £25 million.
Other high-profile figures lined up to appear include Hofesh Shechter, Aakash Odedra and Roberta Jean.
Around a third of the programme will showcase Scottish acts, including Scottish Dance Theatre, David Hughes Dance, Curious Seed, plan B and Robbie Synge.
Morag Deyes, artistic director of Dance Base, who was also one of the programmers, said the event would showcase a programme of “exciting, diverse and challenging” works.
She added: “It’s been a privilege to spend the last 12 months seeing a wide range work from across the UK and we’re excited to present a rich range of styles, artists and approaches to dance.
“For the first time delegates at British Dance Edition will see work from all four corners of the UK, mapping the unique landscape of dance from these islands.”
Janet Archer, chief executive of Creative Scotland, who was previously head of dance at Arts Council England, said: “In hosting British Dance Edition, the international spotlight will fall on Scotland’s vibrant dance sector as well as our world-class performance venues.
“It’s the first time the event has been programmed outside of England and been split across two cities allowing delegates to experience first hand Scotland as a destination for dance.”