Sadler’s Wells commissions Akram Khan to create new film

Sadler’s Wells has commissioned Associate Artist Akram Khan to create a short film inspired by XENOS, his final new full-length solo. The seven minute film, XEN, produced by Illuminations for Sadler’s Wells, is a reimagined version of Akram Khan’s performance but 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 and further audiences.

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, as well as National Ballet of China. 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. 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.

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.