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International Premier Akasha Dance Theatre

International Premier Akasha Dance Theatre with an international company of artists from Malta, UK, Malaysia and India.  5 artists … 5 energies…colliding in the ‘in-between’ of a vacuum… Sound and Space penetrated by a haunting voice.

Akasha is developed in collaboration with Paradigm Wellness and mavinkhooDance, supported by the British Council and co-commissioned by the Manoel Theatre.

International dancer and choreographer Mavin Khoo delves into the philosophical concept of space.  Akasha is a contemporary dance theatre piece that explores the notion of ether as signified through the pluralism of its possibilities, air, spirit, energy. It frames its content from the abstracted framework of Vedic interpretation.

Researched and developed in Malta, the work includes an international company of performers and artistic collaborators (UK/Malaysia/Malta) under the direction of Khoo.

Akasha signifies the meeting point of five energies that are between worlds. In their personal struggles of indistinguishable surrealism and realism they interact in a physical dialogue. Performed under a circle of light, the five performers (five energies) are between worlds; of earth and heaven, mortality and immortality. They are forced to engage with the ‘efforts’ of their meeting. They embody the virtuosity of enlarged physical attributes within the confinement of a static space; thus establishing the experience as real as opposed to assumed. The work blurs the lines of dance identity; asking us to look at hybrid Dance, not just within its cultural and ethnic canvases, but its potential to engage with notions of virtuosity, neo-classicism and stylization beyond the boundaries of formal dance making. Here, Dancer is Actor and Actor is Dancer, anchoring the performance premise to the ancient Natya Shastra (200 BC- 200 AD), whereby the disciplines of theatre, dance and music are encompassed and unified within the performer.

Akasha is choreographed to a recorded sound score by Renzo Spiteri and the live and recorded vocals of renowned Carnatic singer Pushkala Gopal and lighting design by Moritz Zavan.

On 25 October 2012 Akasha will be performed at SOTA (School of Performing Arts) in Singapore as part of IADMS Conference (International Association of Dance Medicine and Science).

Akasha in Sanskrit means "ether"; both in its elemental and metaphysical senses.

What is Akasha?
Ether stands as an intangible presence within the tangible materialism of the Now. It is seen as the first element of creation; locating itself in the populated matter of the Earth and the seemingly nothingness of the ‘other’ world.  It is All Pervading, an imperceptible substance that exists as a playground to the existence of those that cannot be perceived. It is Nothing and it is Everything. It is Empty and it is Full. It is What Is and What Could Be.

Mavin Khoo talking about Akasha

Production team
Performer/Choreographer/Director: Mavin Khoo (Malaysia/UK)
Performer: Sarah Lee-Zammit (Malta)
Performer: Dorian Mallia (Malta)
Performer: Jacob Piccinino (Malta)
Performer: Florinda Camilleri (Malta)
Rehearsal director: Nico Monaco (Italy/Holland)
Music Score and Sound Design: Renzo Spiteri (Malta)
Live and Recorded vocalist: Pushkala Gopal (UK/India)
Lighting designer: Moritz Zavan (Italy)

Mavin Khoo was born in Malaysia where he began his dance studies, eventually training in India, the USA and Britain. He studied Bharata Natyam with the legendary dance maestro, Padma Shri Adyar K.Lakshman in India, Cunningham technique at the Cunningham studios in New York and Classical Ballet under the direct tutelage of Marian St. Claire, Michael Beare, Nancy Kilgour and Tory Trotter.

An established dancer and choreographer, he has worked in collaboration with Wayne McGregor (Encoder, 1997), Akram Khan (No Male Egos, 1999) Christopher Bannermen (Cast in Stone, 2000) and others. He has danced with Sankalpam, Random, City Ballet of London and Shobana Jeyasingh dance companies in the UK. He has also toured as guest artist with Ballet de Zaragoza and Ballet de Regensburg. Commissioned works include creations for the National Youth Dance Company (2000), London Studio Centre’s Jazz Company (2001, 2003, 2005, and 2008), Union Dance (2005), Akademi (2005, 2007), Blue-Cube Promotions (2006) and Canada Dance Festival with Sampradaya Dance Creations and Ballet Jorgen Canada (2007). He has created Bharata Natyam works for independent Bharata Natyam soloist Chitra Sundaram (2001) and Seeta Patel (2005). Image in varnam (2001) that was commissioned by the Royal Ballet Artists Development Initiative was then followed by another ROH2 commission; Let me…with Royal Ballet dancer Kristen McNally.

As a Bharata Natyam soloist, Khoo has toured the world. He has been honoured by the prestigious Krishna Gana Sabha (Chennai) for his Bharata Natyam performance work and is a regular soloist dancing in all the major venues in India including the Music Academy, Chennai.

His own company mavinkhooDance was founded in 2003, with its first international touring production Parallel Passions. This was followed by Chandra/Luna (2004-2005), Devi: the Female Principle (2006), Strictly Bharata Natyam (2006), Devi: In Absolution (2008), ‘Dancing my Shiva (2010) and most recently, the international premiere of his long awaited version of Swan Lake – ’00.00 – 00.01’ (2011). In addition to that he also performed in Australia and was invited by Akram Khan to be part of his international festival in Brugge, Belgium. Khoo is a recipient of the prestigious Chevening scholarship (British Council) and holds an MA in Choreography from Middlesex University. He is currently faculty member of the Dance Studies department (Mediterranean Institute) at the University of Malta.

Dates are 2 and 3 October 2012
Venue at Manoel Theatre
Time at 8pm

For bookings please contact the Manoel Theatre booking office tel 21246389 or email

Watch the trailer