Marking the great dancer's final performances in a full-length production, Akram Khan’s XENOS confronts the tragedy of the First World War.
A new solo work by Akram Khan, marking the great dancer's final performances in a full-length production. XENOS means ‘stranger’ or ‘foreigner’. It confronts the tragedy of the First World War through the eyes of a shell-shocked Indian soldier in the trenches, forced to fight in a conflict that is not his.
Around 1.5 million Indian men – mostly peasants from northern India – were mobilised during the War. Forced into service by the obligations of empire, they fought and died in Europe, Africa and the Middle East. Or sometimes returned home, often mutilated and traumatised, to find their stories later suppressed after rejection of colonial rule – thereby becoming strangers in their own land.
Expressing tales of loss, hope and redemption, XENOS explores our connections with our past and our future, and stares unflinchingly at the beauty and horror of the human condition.
Akram Khan is one of today’s most celebrated and respected dance artists, a multi-award-winning dancer and choreographer who creates epic storytelling works with a powerful emotional impact. Shifting between classical Indian kathak and contemporary dance, his distinctive movement language respects and challenges both forms.
In shows including Kaash, DESH, Gnosis and zero degrees, Khan has worked on stages across the world, collaborating with artists including Juliette Binoche, Sylvie Guillem, Kylie Minogue, Anish Kapoor and Antony Gormley. XENOS’s stellar international creative team includes acclaimed Canadian playwright Jordan Tannahill, and Italian composer Vincenzo Lamagna, whose specially written score is performed live on stage by a multi-national quintet of musicians.
★★★★★ 'a gift to hold dear'
★★★★ 'Khan creates powerful images with breathtaking skill and simplicity'
Open an image gallery
A work of defining greatnessThe Observer
His performance is as astounding as it is powerfulThe Times
Akram Khan Director, choreographer and performer
Mirella Weingarten Set designer
Michael Hulls Lighting designer
Kimie Nakano Costume designer
Vincenzo Lamagna Composer
Ruth Little Dramaturg
Jordan Tannahill Writer
Nina Harries, Clarice Rarity, B C Manjunath, Tamar Osborn, Aditya Prakash Musicians
Commissioned by 14-18 NOW, the UK’s arts programme for the First World War centenary, with support from the National Lottery through Arts Council England and the Heritage Lottery Fund, and from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
A co-production between Edinburgh International Festival, Onassis Cultural Centre – Athens, The Grange Festival Hampshire, Sadler’s Wells London, New Vision Arts Festival Hong Kong, Théâtre de la Ville Paris, Les Théâtres de la Ville de Luxembourg, National Arts Centre Ottawa, Shanghai Performing Arts Centre, Centro Cultural de Belém, Festspielhaus St. Pölten, Grec 2018 Festival de Barcelona, HELLERAU – European Center for the Arts Dresden, Adelaide Festival, Festival Montpellier Danse 2018, Julidans Amsterdam, Canadian Stage Toronto, Romaeuropa Festival, Torinodanza festival / Teatro Stabile di Torino – Teatro Nazionale, Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts New York, University of California Berkeley, Danse Danse Montreal, Curve Leicester