Interview – XENOS at NCPA Mumbai

5 July 2023

I always find pleasure in drowning

- Akram Khan

In dance, the body is the instrument. What happens when that body starts to disobey? When it refuses to jump as high or brise as eloquently or land with the lightest of taps? Most dancers would adapt to a ‘diminished’ body, perhaps they’d choose to focus more on expression rather than movement. They’d restrict their sphere and limit their exu­berance on stage. But 49-year-old Akram Khan is not a man of half measures. English dancer and choreographer of Bangladeshi descent, Khan is one of the most original and celebrated choreog­raphers of international dance. Over the last two decades, London-based Khan with Mavin Khoo, his creative associate, has created a body of work that straddles contemporary and Kathak and by dissolving the boundaries between both has created something altogether new and vital.

On June 24 and 25, Khan bid farewell to full-length solo dance performances with sold-out shows at The National Centre for the Performing Arts (NCPA), Mumbai. Some of India’s best-known dancers such as Malavika Sarukkai, Aditi Mangaldas and Anita Ratnam were in attendance for Khan’s final performance of Xenos, which had its world premiere at the Onassis Cul­tural Centre, Athens in 2018. The attendance of the dance fraternity hardly surprises, as Khan is known for being an “instinctive and natural col­laborator.” He has in the past collaborated with a wide range of artists and organisations, from the National Ballet of China to actor Juliette Binoche to singer Kylie Minogue to artist Anish Kapoor to writer Hanif Kureishi, to name just a handful. Xenos ended with a lengthy standing ovation at NCPA with many of the dance fraternity, who he considers friends and mentors, chanting, “Bravo”.

To read the rest of the interview on Open Magazine, please click here.

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