Amina Khayyam’s Yerma is a beautiful rendition of Federico Garcia Lorca’s classic text. Khayyam, accompanied by Jane Chan and Lucy Teed, use a form of Indian classical dance known as Kathak to tell the story of Yerma, a childless woman living in rural Spain in the early 20th Century.

This show is an accomplished and captivating piece of dance.

The choreography is exquisite: every beat, gesture, and turn has clearly been thought about. The dancers perform with the utmost sincerity and grace, meaning the non-verbal piece never seems to be lacking in depth. Unfortunately on the day I saw it, one dancer in particular was frequently out of time, meaning the performance was occasionally lacking in synchronicity, but I am confident that this will sort itself out after a couple more performances. The promise in this piece was abundantly clear in the moments of perfect unison, which were genuinely breathtaking.

Aesthetically Yerma was a triumph, with elegant and understated costumes. These complemented the lighting design, which I truly believe to be one of the most beautiful designs I have ever seen on stage. Lighting designer Stuart Walton deserves real recognition for just how impressive his design was, especially as the success of a show like this one relies on its visuals.

Adding to the atmosphere of the piece was the live music, with a band consisting of a cello, tabla, and vocalist positioned on stage, just behind the action. I was in awe of the musicians for much of the production, particularly the tabla player (Debasish Mukherjee) whose playing was utterly mesmerising.

Overall Yerma is certainly worth seeing. For those who are familiar with the original text, this production is very loose and subtle in its interpretation. However this show is an accomplished and captivating piece of dance, which I am sure can only get better.

Reviews by Marthe de Ferrer

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The Blurb

The anguishing and compelling story of Yerma, a woman suffering the social torment of a childless marriage, that forces her to commit a horrific and irrevocable act, is interpreted to neo-classical Kathak dance and performed to spectacular live music with tabla, cello and vocals. Originally set in rural patriarchal and religiously repressive Spain, AKDC’s Yerma is inspired for an inner-city British community.

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