This autumn, Yoshie Sunahata will travel to England to perform with the globally-reknowned dance innovator Akram Khan in his new show 'Gnosis'. Gnosis is a new solo dance performance based on Kathak, the classical Indian genre in which Akram's dance background lies. Yoshie will join a stellar cast of Indian musicians on stage, adding a unique Japanese flavour to the performance with taiko. The show is attracting a great deal of attention as the opening piece for the Svapnagata Festival to be held at Sadler's Wells Theatre, an event where Indian artists introduce their culture to the world.
To get a head start before the October rehearsals for Gnosis in England, Akram Khan came to Sado Island from July 15 to 17 and spent three days in Kodo Village for intensive rehearsals with Yoshie Sunahata.
The first half of the show features Akram dancing to a compostion called "Polaroid Feet", and I will be playing the Japanese drum part along with the Indian Dance Music Accompanianists. I will play an Okinawan Drum and a shime-daiko (roped) drum sitting on the floor. I will be using the rim of the shime-daiko to produce certain nuances required for the piece.
Most of this rehearsal period was spent learning the voice percussion (simulated drum sound by voice) for the part I would have to play, and then that translating that sound through my drum.
In the second half of the show I will have to play a part while performing. The artistic direction is based on the Indian epic myth called the Mahabharata and I will playing the role of the blind queen in the story. Receiving such a major part was completely unexpected to me. I know without a doubt this show is going to be very rewarding for me. During the rehearsal period, Akram said, "Let me hear you sing, let me see you dance" and I showed him everything I could think to show him. It resulted in him using many of the elements I showed him that day in the show itself, and I am sure it is going to be a performance in which I will be able to express myself completely.
At first, when I heard about this project I thought "It's impossible for me right now", but after meeting Akram and having everything I need to work on piled on my plate, I feel positive about it all.
I am going to give it my all and make sure I can look back on it and say I did my very best.