Indonesia / Great Britain / China

Portraits in Otherness

Rianto / Dickson Mbi / Maya Jilan Dong

Tour Dates

Duration: 105 mins., with interval

April 25, 2020



April 29, 2020



May 1, 2020



May 3, 2020



May 5, 2020



Ticket information

L’Octogone Théâtre de Pully


Avenue de Lavaux 41 +41 21 721 36 20

Theater Casino Zug


Artherstrasse 2-4 +41 41 729 05 05

Dampfzentrale Bern


Marzilistrasse 47

Aula de Chantemerle


Chemin de Chantemerle 2 +41 32 493 45 11

Phönix Theater


Im Feldbach 8 +41 52 761 33 77

One programme, three great dance solos: «Portraits in Otherness» offers an encounter with artists who engage with, and pioneer their respective dance languages and traditions at the highest level. For «Whip», Maya Jilan Dong from China drew her inspiration from the folk dances of her native country. Trenchantly and vibrantly, she celebrates every movement, elegantly structuring the space surrounding her. In «Duende», Dickson Mbi mixes popping with contemporary dance and unleashes an electrifying emotionality with his powerful dancing. The third participant is Rianto from Indonesia. His «Medium», although rooted in traditional Javanese dance, is presented in a strongly contemporary guise. Like an elemental force, the dancer celebrates not alone his body, but life itself. Breathtaking.


The concept for this production is the brainchild of Akram Khan, represented in Steps in earlier years («Bahok», «Vertical Road», «Desh»), and his dramaturg Farooq Chaudry. Khan frequently switches roles between dancer and choreographer. Driven by the desire to pass his experience on to talented dancers, the idea was born of accompanying them closely in the elaboration of their own creations and of offering them an international platform. An absolute benefit not only for the artists, but also for the audience!


Maya Jilan Dong, Dickson Mbi, Rianto and Farooq Chaudhry, dramaturg of the choreographer Akram Khan and co-author of «Portraits in Otherness», send us a personal note, just like the show they would have offered us: sensitive, multicultural, positive and inspiring.



Born 1981 in the village Kaliori, Banyumas in Indonesia, Rianto was trained in classical Javanese dance from a young age. He has specialised in the cross-gender dance Lengger. Since 2003, Rianto has lived in Tokyo where he founded the Dewanandru Dance Company for classical Javanese dance. He has continuously worked on his own choreographic voice, a contemporary Javanese dance style. He first attracted international attention with his solo work «Soft Machine» and, in 2016, he created «Medium». He was asked by Akram Kahn to replace him in his production «Until the Lions». Picture: Joel Benguigui

Dickson Mbi

Dickson Mbi

The choreographer and dancer Dickson Mbi has a background in jazz, ballet and contemporary dance. He trained at Lewisham College and the London Contemporary Dance School. Today, he is an internationally successful dancer in the hip hop scene. His career has been adorned by numerous competition prizes, such as popping competitions, Juste Debout UK, BattleISM, KOD and the British B-Boy Championships. As a dancer he has worked with Basement, Jaxx Shallama, Robbie Williams, Corinne Bailey-Rae, Black Eyed Peas, Russell Maliphant and Boy Blue Entertainment. Picture: Woon Shik Lee

Maya Jilan Dong

Maya Jilan Dong

Maya Dong comes from the Bei population, an ethnic minority in the Yunnan Province in southwest China. She grew up in a rural area, surrounded by nature. In 2004, at the age of twelve, the famous Chinese choreographer Yang Liping discovered her talent and invited her to join the Yunnan Yang Liping Arts & Culture Company. Ever since, she has performed in Yang’s most important works, such as «Dynamic Yunnan», «Under Siege» and «Winter Peacock». Today the dancer and choreographer is one of the most experienced members of the Yang Liping Company.



Artistic direction:

Akram Khan

Artistic production:

Farooq Chaudhry

Credits Medium:

Choreography/dance: Rianto | Vocals, percussion: Cahwati | Sound Design: Sri Waluyo | Lighting/ Stage design: Iskandar K. Loedin | Dramaturgy: Garin Nugroho | Production coordination: Putri Pramesti Wigaringtyas | Production: Jala Adolphus | Co-production: Akram Khan Company, Sadler’s Wells London, Peacock Contemporary Dance Company (CHN); 1deSingel Internationale Kunstcampus, Antwerpen, Hessisches Staatsballett, Staatstheater Darmstadt and Darwin Festival. With thanks to the partners who offered residencies and to the Doris Duke Foundation for Islamic Arts.

Credits Duende:

Choreography/dance: Dickson Mbi | Music: Roger Goula | Lighting: Fabiana Piccioli, Arne Schmitt | Production: Farooq Chaudhry | Co-production: Akram Khan Company, Sadler’s Wells London, Peacock Contemporary Dance Company (CHN)

Credits Whip:

Choreography/dance: Maya Jilan Dong | Composition: Joanne Clara | Live cello: Cho Eun |  Costumes: Marie Cantenys, Lan Behrendt (DYAO) | Lighting: Fabiana Piccioli, Arne Schmitt | Stage design: Maya Jilan Dong | Production: Farooq Chaudhry | Co-production: Akram Khan Company, Sadler’s Wells London, Peacock Contemporary Dance Company (CHN)

Stage management/lighting technology:

Zak Macro

Sound technology:

Philip Wood

Tour management:

Gabriel Szalontai

Co-commissioned by:

Esplanade – Theatres on the Bay (Singapore), Performance Space, National Kaohsiung Center for the Arts (Weiwuying), deSingel Internationale Kunstcampus, Staatstheater Darmstadt

Supported by:

Kommunitas Salihara, Darwin Festival

In collaboration with:

Peacock Contemporary Dance Company (CHN)

Project management:

Christine Maupetit

World premiere:

Medium: 2016 | Duende, Whip: 5.6.2018, Sadler’s Wells, London

Swiss premiere

More information:

Akram Khan Company – Portraits in Otherness

Dickson Mbi