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Press Release: Akram Khan's XENOS at Sadler's Wells in May


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UK PREMIERE
Akram Khan Company                                                                                         
XENOS
Tuesday 29 May - Saturday 9 June (no performance Fri 1 & Thur 7 June)
Tickets: £12 - £45
Ticket office: 020 7863 8000 www.sadlerswells.com

 

One of the most celebrated and highly regarded dance makers working today, Sadler’s Wells Associate Artist Akram Khan presents the UK premiere of XENOS at Sadler’s Wells from 29 May - 9 June 2018.

The production is commissioned by 14-18 NOW, the UK’s arts programme for the First World War centenary, and marks Khan’s final performances as a dancer in a full-length piece. Khan conjures the shell-shocked dream of a colonial soldier in the context of the First World War. Meaning ‘stranger’ or ‘foreigner’, XENOS takes place where humanity stands in wonder and disarray, on the border between East and West, past and present, mythology and technology.

The production reveals the beauty and horror of the human condition and seeks to express tales of loss, hope and redemption, through a movement language that shifts between classical kathak and contemporary dance.

Khan is joined on stage by five world-class musicians and a stellar creative team including fellow Sadler’s Wells Associate Artist lighting designer Michael Hulls, dramaturg Ruth Little, playwright Jordan Tannahill, set designer Mirella Weingarten, costumier Kimie Nakano and composer Vincenzo Lamagna.

Akram Khan said: "Out of all the creations I have been blessed to be involved in, XENOS is the one that I find to be the closest in line with my personal journey as an artist. The themes of reflection, death, rebirth, time, alienation, identity, memory, are all part of this creative process, and together with some incredible collaborators, I have embarked on this challenging journey, to give birth to XENOS. 

“Essentially, this work is a reflection of how I feel about our world today. It is about our loss of humanity, and how, through past and present wars, we are yet again confronted by the burning question of what it is to be human. How can we as humans, have such ability to create extraordinary and beautiful things from our imagination, and equally, our immense ability to create and commit violence and horrors beyond our imagination. Prometheus saw this in mankind before we as a species, ever recognised it."

XENOS is part of Sadler’s Wells’ 20th anniversary celebrations, and is among 20 commissions celebrating 20 years of the current building, which opened in 1998.

Akram Khan became a Sadler’s Wells Associate Artist in 2005. Sadler’s Wells has co-produced many works with Akram Khan Company, including his acclaimed solo work DESH, TOROBAKA with flamenco artist Israel Galván, Sacred Monsters with Sylvie Guillem, and zero degrees, with fellow Associate Artists Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui and Nitin Sawhney.

Sadler’s Wells Artistic Director and Chief Executive Alistair Spalding said: “I am proud to present the UK premiere of XENOS at Sadler’s Wells and to offer our audiences the opportunity to see Akram perform in a full-length work for the last time. As with any of his thoughtful and moving works, XENOS is a personal story with universal relevance. By focusing on the journey of an Indian dancer turned combatant, Akram shines a light not only on the role of colonial soldiers in the First World War, but also on timely issues such as identity and memory – who writes history? Does everyone get the recognition they deserve? He also draws a parallel between the myth of the Titan Prometheus, whose self-healing liver is destined to be forever eaten by an eagle, and man’s cyclical return to conflict and destruction. Importantly, Akram does all this without ever losing hope in humanity.” 

 

Commissioned by 14 – 18 NOW, the UK’s arts programme for the First World War centenary, and sponsored by COLAS

A Sadler’s Wells co-production

Akram Khan and Michael Hulls are Sadler’s Wells Associate Artists

Insight into Akram Khan’s XENOS: Sunday 3 June at 4pm; £15 (£10 with XENOS ticket)

 

NOTES TO EDITORS

 

XENOS on tour:

Montpellier Danse, France: 26-27 June

Edinburgh International Festival, UK: 16-18 August

Curve Leicester, UK: 21-22 September

National Arts Center, Ottawa, Canada: 11-13 October

Canadian Stage, Toronto, Canada: 18-21 October

 

 

About Akram Khan 
Akram Khan is one of the most celebrated and respected dance artists today. In just over 17 years he has created a body of work that has contributed significantly to the arts in the UK and abroad. His reputation has been built on the success of imaginative, highly accessible and relevant productions such as Until the Lions, Kaash, iTMOi (in the mind of igor), DESH, Vertical Road, Gnosis and zero degrees. 

An instinctive and natural collaborator, Khan has been a magnet to world-class artists from other cultures and disciplines. His previous collaborators include the National Ballet of China, actress Juliette Binoche, ballerina Sylvie Guillem, choreographers/dancers Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui and Israel Galván, singer Kylie Minogue, visual artists Anish Kapoor, Antony Gormley and Tim Yip, writer Hanif Kureishi and composers Steve Reich, Nitin Sawhney, Jocelyn Pook and Ben Frost. A career highlight was the creation of a section of the London 2012 Olympic Games Opening Ceremony that was received with unanimous acclaim. 

As a choreographer, Khan has developed a close collaboration with English National Ballet and its Artistic Director Tamara Rojo. He created the short piece Dust, part of the Lest We Forget programme, which led to an invitation to create his own critically acclaimed version of the iconic romantic ballet Giselle.

Khan has been the recipient of numerous awards throughout his career including the Laurence Olivier Award, the Bessie Award (New York Dance and Performance Award), the prestigious ISPA (International Society for the Performing Arts) Distinguished Artist Award, the Fred and Adele Astaire Award, the Herald Archangel Award at the Edinburgh International Festival, the South Bank Sky Arts Award and six Critics’ Circle National Dance Awards. Khan was awarded an MBE for services to dance in 2005. 

He is also an Honorary Graduate of University of London as well as Roehampton and De Montfort Universities, and an Honorary Fellow of Trinity Laban. Khan is an Associate Artist of Sadler’s Wells, London and Curve, Leicester. 



About Akram Khan Company
Co-founded in 2000 by award-winning choreographer Akram Khan and producer Farooq Chaudhry, Akram Khan Company has established itself as one of the foremost innovative dance companies, performing to sell-out audiences in leading festivals and venues around the world. Embracing Khan’s artistic vision that both respects and challenges tradition and modernity, the Company has become renowned for its intercultural, interdisciplinary collaborations, and has developed a significant range of works from classical kathak and modern solos to artist-to-artist duets and ensemble productions. A milestone in the Company’s journey was the creation of a section of the London Olympic Games Opening Ceremony in 2012.

The Company has been showered with prestigious honours including an Olivier Award for DESH and a record-breaking six Critics’ Circle National Dance Awards. Akram Khan Company enjoys artistic association with Sadler’s Wells Theatre in London, Curve in Leicester, and other leading venues and festivals around the world.

www.akramkhancompany.net

 

About 14-18 NOW
14-18 NOW is a programme of extraordinary arts experiences connecting people with the First World War, as part of the UK’s official centenary commemorations. It commissions new work by leading contemporary artists across all art forms; the programme has included over 200 artists from 35 countries, with commissions taking place in 160 locations across the UK. Over 30 million people have experienced a project so far, including 7.5 million children and young people. 16.7million people took part in LIGHTS OUT in 2014, and 63% of the population were aware of Jeremy Deller’s 2016 work ‘We’re here because we’re here’. The UK tour of the iconic poppy sculptures by artist Paul Cummins and designer Tom Piper have been seen by over 3.5 million people to date.  14-18 NOW has won many awards for its work, including the National Lottery Heritage Award 2017, a Museums Heritage Award and the Chairman’s Awards at The Drum Social Buzz Awards 2016.  It is supported by the National Lottery through the Heritage Lottery Fund and Arts Council England, by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, and by additional fundraising.  

 

About Sadler’s Wells
Sadler’s Wells is a world-leading creative organisation dedicated to dance in all its forms. With over three centuries of theatrical heritage and a year-round programme of performances and learning activities, its goal is to motivate everyone to experience dance – to take part, learn, experiment and be inspired. Audiences of over half a million come to Sadler’s Wells’ London theatres each year, with many more enjoying its touring productions at partner venues across the UK and around the world, or accessing its content through digital channels. 

Sadler’s Wells commissions and presents more new dance work than any other theatre in the world, embracing the popular and the unknown. Since 2005, it has helped to bring over 140 new dance works to the stage, many of them involving its 16 Associate Artists, three Resident Companies and four Associate Companies – the most exciting talents working in dance today. It also nurtures the next generation of talent through its artist development initiatives, and reaches over 25,000 annually through its learning and engagement programmes.

Located in Islington, north London, the current theatre is the sixth to have stood on the site since it was first built by entrepreneur Richard Sadler in 1683. The venue has played an illustrious role in the history of theatre ever since with The Royal Ballet, Birmingham Royal Ballet and English National Opera having all started at Sadler’s Wells. Sadler’s Wells is a charity and a National Portfolio Organisation, currently receiving 10% of its revenue from Arts Council England.

www.sadlerswells.com

 

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