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01 October 2023

UAE to host UK contemporary dance shows

The performance will be preceded by a week-long residency in universities and schools. (SUPPLIED)

By Staff
The Abu Dhabi Authority for Culture and Heritage (Adach), in partnership with the British Council, will present contemporary UK dance production ‘Kathakbox’, performed by Sonia Sabri Company in Abu Dhabi on February 26.
Kathakbox is an uplifting production from the talented Sonia Sabri Company which expresses the diverse energy of modern Britain. Kathakbox encourages audiences to ‘think outside the box’ by bringing together a unique palette of art forms, blending grace and vigour.
Sonia Sabri Company aims to inspire UAE audiences with its new dance style: Urban Kathak – a coming together of poetry, movement and hip hop to be showcased in Abu Dhabi Theatre on February 26 and in Dubai at Ductac on February 28.
The performance will be preceded by a week-long residency in universities and schools.
The residency, supported by British Council and Adach, will take the form of interactive workshops and encourage students to explore the power of art. Various themes of Kathakbox and the concept of using art forms as creative languages of self-expression, through movement, poetry, music, rhythms and speech will all be used to teach and inspire students.
“We are very happy to be partnering with the British Council on this fantastic cultural initiative.
Such events reach out to the community and the workshops and educational activities off the back of such performances will no doubt widen the impact of the programme to all those that desire to be creatively inspired,” said Abdullah Al Ameri, Adach Director of Arts and Culture.
Michel Bechara, Director of Projects, British Council, UAE, said “Our aim is to engage local audiences, students and artists by initiating a series of workshops and conversations around Kathakbox by exploring the richness of poetry and movement.
Kathak is an art form which encompasses movement, gesture, expression, music, the spoken word, drama as well as dance and it encourages us to think outside the box”
“From its connections with youth culture through to beatbox and hip hop, to workshops on movement and self-expression, to social media projects linking UK and UAE students, this British Council initiative in conjunction with our partners will inspire and educate UAE audiences,” added Bechara.
Kathakbox makes music with no instruments, using only the power of the human body and voice by drawing on urban trends and global traditions.
Dancers create music and musicians create movement while each tells their own individual story through spoken and unspoken languages: rhythm, movement, poetry and rap in English, Hindi, Punjabi and Urdu.
Sonia Sabri is well known as one of the brightest and most inspirational British-born dancers/choreographers working today.
Her work spans from classical North Indian Kathak to explorations of contemporary approaches, while her productions reflect her appreciation of Indian and British cultures.
Through her work she has created a fresh, individual style of Kathak by pushing boundaries and creating work that is original in concept, exciting and relevant to audiences today.
“It is tremendously exciting for us to be given the opportunity to perform to audiences in Abu Dhabi and Dubai.
We are committed to sowing the seeds of creativity in the next generation and we hope to inspire people through such innovative collaborations that showcase dance styles and art forms while preserving Kathak’s essential purity and integrity,” said Sonia Sabri.
The British Council continues to create and develop innovative, high-quality events and collaborations that link thousands of artists and cultural institutions around the world, drawing them into a closer relationship with the UK. 
With the help of the global team British Council works with its Middle East and UK partners and dancers and musicians to draw on the innovation and creativity of the UK’s contemporary dance scene to open up the arts to more young people.