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Akram Khan - Xenos


“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.” Akram Khan

Awards Akram Khan received the Lawrence Olivier Award 2019 for Outstanding Achievement in Dance for XENOS and the Outstanding Male Modern Performance Award at The UK Critics’ Circle National Dance Awards 2018.

Akram Khan’s much anticipated new opus, XENOS, marks his last performances as a dancer in a full-length solo piece.

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Akram Khan - Xenos ON TOUR

Our review on Akram Khan - Xenos

Akram Khan - Xenos - The Lowry, Salford - Wednesday 29th September 2021 by Amy Jackson

Our Rating

Mesmerising, powerful and thought provoking contemporary dance. 

We arrived at the theatre open minded for this performance having seen some of Akram Khans work before but knowing contemporary dance can always be a surprise. 

Walking into the auditorium we were met with the sound of a tabla drum and vocalist which created a cultural atmosphere, we were instantly mesmerised. The simple yet stunning set with a triangle of festoon lights, wooden swing, 5 chairs and a sloping stage with tangled ropes adds to the intrigue. 

Akram makes his entrance and the dancing begins, but this production is so much more than a contemporary dance piece. It is a wonderful collaboration between set design by Morelia Weingarten, musicians; Nina Harries, B C Manjunath, Tamar Osborn, Aditya Prakash and Fra Rustumji and stunning technical direction from Richard Fagan. The array of different sounds adds to the dramatic intensity and leaves the audience on the edge of their seat. It is truly a show for the senses. 

Xenos was commissioned for the First World War centenary, Akram Khan draws on the experience of a shell shocked colonial soldier in the First World War. This is abstracted by his use of opposition which creates a surreal dream-like experience with many unexpected moments. The set disappearing behind the sloped stage signaling the ground being swallowed was just one of many moments which took the audience by surprise. 

Xenos is Akram Khans last performance as a dancer in a full-length piece, an opportunity not to be missed. 

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