National Youth Dance Company

National Youth Dance Company


‘Equally impressive was the extract from Vertical Road, in which the dancers moved with an intensity not often matched by more experienced artists.’

Dancing Times
‘The NYDC dancers mustered a remarkable gravitas to pull it off.’

- Dance Tabs


Vertical Road

Restaged excerpt from Vertical Road, 2010
Vertical Road draws inspiration from the Sufi tradition and the Persian poet and philosopher Rumi. Exploring man’s earthly nature, his rituals and the consequences of human actions, Vertical Road becomes a meditation on the journey from gravity to grace.

“I am pulled reluctantly towards a strong horizontal current, which is a place where time is moving at such high velocity, that even our breath is forced to accelerate just in order for us humans to survive.”

– Akram Khan

The generation of today are focused on self-expression, on ‘I, myself and I’…the iPhone, iPad… there is a lack of coming together or opportunities to embrace the concept of ‘we’. Perhaps learning a piece such as Vertical Road provides a bridge from self-expression to finding your own place within someone else’s vision. I think this is a hard task for these dancers, to not be able to tap into their own body and language but to find themselves through someone else’s language, like an actor does. I try to support them in this transition and vulnerability through dialogue and by understanding the initial frustration they may feel, which I remember from my own youth. I really admire the way they have taken Vertical Road on. – Akram Khan

Music Composed by Nitin Sawhney

Costume loan by kind courtesy of Akram Khan Company and Northern School of Contemporary Dance.


  • 16 April 2014
    Premiere, Sadler's Wells, London
  • 19 April 2014
    Clore Ballroom, Royal Festival Hall, London
  • 20 June 2014
    The Point
  • 22 June 2014
    DanceEast, Jerwood DanceHouse, Ipswich
  • 29 June 2014
    Sampled Festival, Sadler's Wells, London
  • 5 July 2014
    Dance City, Newcastle
  • 6 July 2014
    Riley Theatre, Northern School of Contemporary Dance, Leeds
  • 20 July 2014
    Latitude Festival, Suffolk
  • 24 July 2014
    mac, Birmingham

Vertical Road TEAM

Akram Khan


Konstandina Efthimiadou

Rehearsal Director

Gurmit Hukam

Rehearsal Director

Adam Carrée

Lighting Designer

Kimie Nakano

Costume Designer