Dancing the homeland: Akram Khan’s final performance of Desh

Akram Khan, Desh

Legendary dancer will perform the deeply personal solo show for the last time at Sadler’s Wells this week after touring 23 countries and 37 cities with the show

“Bengali – the first language and sounds I heard as a child. Bengali provokes thoughts of home, but despite being at my core, I cannot dream or think in Bengali, only in English.”

This conflicted condition of the divided, dual self, experienced by the second-generation South Asian immigrant, is the starting point for Desh, a poignant and deeply personal solo dance piece by British-Bangladeshi choreographer Akram Khan, which first premiered in 2011 – the year that Bangladesh celebrated the 40th anniversary of its independence from Pakistan.

The trailer for the performance, which runs for four nights in London

Now, after having toured 23 countries and 37 cities and won several accolades including an Olivier Award, Desh returns for one last time this week to London’s world-leading dance house Sadler’s Wells. It’s a rare opportunity to see Khan himself perform one of the works that made him the iconic dance artist that he is today.


Desh, meaning “homeland” in Bengali, weaves together stories that span both Britain and Bangladesh to create a sense of collective humanity that exists beyond any one place or time. Using his trademark blend of kathak and Western contemporary dance, Khan embodies the hope of Bangladesh and its people, as well as the economic and environmental vulnerabilities of the country, ultimately exploring the power of the human spirit in the face of adversity.

Desh is at Sadler’s Wells from Wednesday, 31 May until Saturday, 3 June

danceClove editors