Amina Khayyam Dance – Catch the Bird Who Won't Fly

Amina Khayyam’s Catch the Bird Who Won’t Fly, a Kathak dance piece using animation and green screen is beautiful, subtle and moving despite its grim subject matter: domestic violence which has grown alarmingly during covid lockdown.

Fluttering or flailing hands warding off blows, expressive eyes and birds flying out of a woman’s mouth

Animations of fluttering or flailing hands warding off blows, expressive eyes and birds flying out of a woman’s mouth are intercut with only a few short real life images of a woman with bruised and bloodied face. The animation by Louise Rhoades-Brown successfully distances us from horror and allows us to appreciate the skill of the Kathak dancers, the varied tabla rhythms and soulful singing which are also a poignant, empathetic evocation of the women’s desperation.

The prestige in which Khayyam’s company is held is reflected in the international super stars she has attracted to this show: British-based Punjabi Rup Khatker, one of the most famous actresses in the world of Asian cinema, and British-based globally acclaimed Bangladeshi singers Lucy Rahman and Sohini Alam. Their soulful vocals and Khayyam’s bols (rhythmic mnemonic syllables) create an exquisite soundscape along with Debasish Mukerjee’s tabla.

Set in four different scenarios from the poorest homes to the wealthy: tower block, terrace, a comfortable garden suburb and a modernist contemporary house indicating that this crime takes place throughout society and though set in Asian homes in Britain it has global relevance.

Although Kathak dance usually includes footwork, we only see the women’s long skirts. The swaying bodies, waving arms and intricate hand movements of Amina Khayyam and Jane Chan are powerfully expressive and not least Khayyam’s abinhaya or facial expressions for which she is famed. Both dancers enact happier times as well as the nightmare present, and Khayyam in particular can play the welcoming hostess hiding what she considers her shame. The only male, Mithun Gill, (a rising dance star who has performed in one of Akram Khan’s films, The Curry House Kid) enacts mental stress with great sensitivity showing how this crime impacts on the children, powerless to help. A fourth scenario demonstrates the tragic outcome that can occur; the white outline on the floor of a murder victim. Skilful cutting from scene to scene, or using split screen the piece rises to a crescendo emphasised by the frenetic rhythm of the tabla followed by a peaceful finale as the bird, symbol perhaps of the soul, flies free into a blue sky.

Amina Khayyam’s company over the years has devoted itself to women’s voices who have been unheard or marginalized and this exquisite piece both laments but hopes to empower women through realizing they are not alone and they too can fly free.

Visit Show Website

Reviews by Stephanie Green

MultiStory

Starting From First Position

★★★★
Dance Base at ZOOTV

Iconnotations

★★★★★
Dance Base at ZOOTV

Opia

★★★★★
Summerhall Online

Grin

★★★
Dance Base

Family Portrait

★★★★★
Dance Base at ZOOTV

Fugue in Two Colors

★★

Since you’re here…

… we have a small favour to ask. We don't want your money to support a hack's bar bill at Abattoir, but if you have a pound or two spare, we really encourage you to support a good cause. If this review has either helped you discover a gem or avoid a turkey, consider doing some good that will really make a difference.

You can donate to the charity of your choice, but if you're looking for inspiration, there are three charities we really like.

Mama Biashara
Kate Copstick’s charity, Mama Biashara, works with the poorest and most marginalised people in Kenya. They give grants to set up small, sustainable businesses that bring financial independence and security. That five quid you spend on a large glass of House White? They can save someone’s life with that. And the money for a pair of Air Jordans? Will take four women and their fifteen children away from a man who is raping them and into a new life with a moneymaking business for Mum and happiness for the kids.
Donate to Mama Biashara now

Theatre MAD
The Make A Difference Trust fights HIV & AIDS one stage at a time. Their UK and International grant-making strategy is based on five criteria that raise awareness, educate, and provide care and support for the most vulnerable in society. A host of fundraising events, including Bucket Collections, Late Night Cabarets, West End Eurovision, West End Bares and A West End Christmas continue to raise funds for projects both in the UK and Sub-Saharan Africa.
Donate to Theatre MAD now

Acting For Others
Acting for Others provides financial and emotional support to all theatre workers in times of need through the 14 member charities. During the COVID-19 crisis Acting for Others have raised over £600,000 to support theatre workers affected by the pandemic.
Donate to Acting For Others now

Performances

Location

The Blurb

Catch the Bird Who Won't Fly is a digital dance-theatre piece made during the Covid lockdowns by working remotely with artists to bring attention to the devastating reality of a crime, which increased during lockdown and is often shrouded in secrecy – domestic violence against women. Using animation and green screen technology, four individual stories are told through Kathak dance from real-life experiences that were researched with the company's network of women's group users.

Most Popular See More

Matilda the Musical

From £25.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Life of Pi

From £19.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Back to the Future - The Musical

From £24.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Mary Poppins

From £24.00

More Info

Find Tickets

The Book of Mormon

From £24.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Dear Evan Hansen

From £30.00

More Info

Find Tickets