Acclaimed choreographer Akram Khan launches short dance film “XEN”

XEN - A film by Akram Khan

Sadler’s Wells has commissioned Associate Artist Akram Khan to create a short film inspired by XENOS, his final new full-length solo which receives its UK premiere at Sadler’s Wells next week.

The 7-minute film, XEN, produced by Illuminations for Sadler’s Wells, is a reimagined version of Akram Khan’s performance for the screen and is available for viewers to watch online.

XEN is part of Sadler’s Wells’ commitment to developing new forms of dance which reach new audiences.

Alistair Spalding, Sadler’s Wells Artistic Director and Chief Executive said: “I am so excited about this new collaboration with Akram Khan, which beautifully complements his live performances at Sadler’s Wells. We have a long standing ethos of accessibility and having the short film of XEN available on our website for free means that anyone around the world can enjoy and be inspired by Akram’s work.”

Akram Khan said: “XEN has been a wonderful experience and an incredible learning process, which I have thoroughly enjoyed. When I was growing up, music videos had a huge influence on me and inspired me to dance, and it’s amazing to be able to share XENOS in a different way and with wider audiences through the film.”

Akram Khan is one of the most celebrated and highly regarded dance makers working today. He has collaborated with artists including 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, set to Emeli Sandé’s rendition of Abide with Me.

XENOS, commissioned by 14-18 NOW, the UK’s arts programme for the First World War centenary, marks Khan’s final performances as a solo dancer in a new full-length piece.

It receives its UK premiere at Sadler’s Wells from 29 May – 9 June 2018XENOS 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.

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.

Sadler’s Wells’ other broadcast and digital projects in 2018 include curating and commissioning DanceWorks in partnership with the BBC, four 30-minute artist-led films broadcast on BBC Four earlier this month, which are available to view on i-player; a partnership with Channel 4’s Random Acts to commission three original films from Julie Cunningham, Alesandra Seutin and Botis Seva for broadcast later in the year; and Celestial Motiona virtual reality experience adapted from Alexander Whitley’s production 8 Minutes, made by The Guardian’s award-winning VR team.