We pointed a camera at some of our audience members at the Corsham Festival, Wiltshire; The Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough; and The Arena Theatre, Wolverhampton and asked them what they thought of the show. As you can see, people of all ages and backgrounds are really enjoying the show and have some interesting things to say!
We’re getting some fantastic feedback for Kathakbox on the road, here’s a taster of what people have been saying so far…
“Sabri devises a dialogue between forms that is at once familiar and new; and by introducing these forms to one another without allowing one to take over from the other, the piece makes a light and playful comment on cultural identity and difference. As Sabri’s own final rap puts it: “You, me, him, her, we are what we are.” Above all, Kathakbox looks like it’s heaps of fun to perform. During the extended body percussion section, in which all seven performers slap arms, legs and torsos to produce a tub-thumping beat that gets the audience clapping and whooping along, they looked like they were enjoying themselves so much I felt like jumping up onstage to join them. Sabri herself is cute as a button and full of vibrant energy, and dancers Amayra Fuller, Suzanne Grubham and Nathan Fuller all easily engage the audience. A very complete piece, with dance, music, spoken word and set all working together to support the theme, Kathakbox is at the same time uplifting and highly enjoyable.“
Lise Smith, londondance.com. Full review here
“The rhythmical complexities combined with…traditional Indian singing would put many modern hip-hop artists to shame. Kathakbox used the idea of needing a racially aware society and made it its own. Sabri asked us to define our own identities regardless of race in what can solely be described as creative genius.”
Redbrick. Full review here
“It was an outstanding evening to say the least, Kathakbox performance had been an amazing mix of a variety of arts, cultures, dances. The event which took place at Abu Dhabi Theater on the 26th of February, is still in our minds!…What makes Kathakbox stands out from the crowd is that it moves you to another planet where no music instruments are used, its only the power of our human bodies. It layers complex Indian rhythms and tabla- vox with the verbal dexterity of multilingual poetry.”
Abu Dhabi Zoom
“Inspiring show, cutting edge and brave. Some important commentary about multiculturalism and social cohesion as well. I particularly enjoyed the fusion of music, rhythmic words and dance and the clever merging of disparate dance-styles, that appeared to take every performer out of their “comfort zone” and challenged them to integrate their familiar style with other dance styles. A difficult project that was executed excellently, yet the performance remained entertaining an accessible. Loved it!”
“Amazing performance last night at Abu Dhabi, congratulations to all the artists, loved the ‘jugalbandi’ part.”
“I was one of the lucky few to get a brief preview of the upcoming Kathakbox performances that will be taking place in the UAE this week…in brief, it’s an awesome modern artistic production, by Sonia Sabri and Company, that combines “movement, gesture, expression, music and the spoken word”… Very cool stuff if you ask me and much more than what I had expected.”
Whose-sane, Abu Dhabi
“It was very interesting to see the similarities between the different dance styles, and how at the end they are able to express the same things, the show was like a Rosetta stone giving you the keys to understand each dance style. For me that I have never seen Kathak before it was a great way to get to know it, appreciate it and get curious to see and learn more about it.”
“basically acknowledging differences within our current British culture but emphasising the common human threads that fundamentally conjoin us”
“the whole performance was a collaboration…really clever and extraordinary. It was a really diverse show.”
“One of the best dance companies I’ve seen.”
“Excellent. A breath of fresh air!”
“Innovative & inspiring.”
“The dancers were amazing! There was so much going on!”
A big thank you to all of our wonderful audiences who are really taking the show to heart, we look forward to seeing more of you soon at our forthcoming dates!
Following three fantastic shows to the home audience in Birmingham, the Kathakbox team jetted off to Abu Dhabi for our much anticipated international residency supported by the British Council and ADACH. Set, lighting, suitcases, passports, travel sweets, and off… Most of the team spent the flight catching up on zzzzs or watching The Social Network (consensus: top movie) while the two-man PR team of Shan and Nathan busied themselves promoting the performances to fellow passengers and air hostesses. We may well see some fellow travellers later in the week! At Dubai airport we sang a rousing ‘happy birthday’ to Marcina who joined us after her flight from London. Coach to Abu Dhabi, reaching our hotel around 4 in the morning, so the whole team are running on jet lag and three hours sleep today.
We kicked off the residency with a press conference and reception at HCT Women’s College, which is a lovely creative campus, with students’ art work decorating each wall. We met again with friends and partners from ADACH, the British Council and HCT. Everyone has been extremely supportive and enthusiastic and we have very much appreciated their hard work in putting things together.
Following the press conference, some of the students joined us for a demonstration and talk about Kathakbox and the work that we are doing in UAE. It’s great to have the opportunity to meet and talk with young people here, begin to get to know them, hear their opinions and inspirations. Across different cultures, there are differing opinions about arts, and people draw their lines and ‘boxes’ at different points particularly when it comes to performing arts. Kathakbox is all about communicating across those lines and between those boxes, spreading the word that artistic expression is another form of self expression, a way to make connections with others that go beyond words, borders and cultures. We’ll be back to meet the same students again for some creative sessions later in the week to carry on the conversation.
Later in the afternoon the whole team tried bravely not to succumb to sleep, as we need to re-set our clocks to Abu Dhabi time. We indulged in the popular Abu Dhabi pastime of a trip to the mall… and the food court! Much joking around and excitement for the week ahead.
Hopefully we’ll have photos uploaded soon, at the moment the hotel’s wi-fi isn’t quite co-operating!
Kathakbox brings many different artistic genres together, and does not ‘box’ them in as separate or limited to a particular time, place, or society. Kathakbox encourages us to ‘think outside the box’, finding the spirit of each art form which connects and reverberates across cultures. Boxes are something we all deal with in our lives, we ‘tick’ them on forms, we use them to categorise people, places, things, art forms, countries and cultures. We use them to include and to exclude. But what makes us as humans inclined to think in a compartmentalised way? Do we accept other people’s categories and boxes, or do we create our own? Do we need boxes at all, or do we just need them to be more malleable? Do we do things because we mean them, or are we just ‘ticking the box’? And how do we step ‘outside the box’?