Berkeley Talks: Dancer Akram Khan on performing the unimaginable, theater of war


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Akram Kahn portrait

Akram Khan (Photo by Lisa Stonehouse)

Dancer/choreographer Akram Khan appeared in the West Coast premiere of XENOS, a Cal Performances co-commission, in Zellerbach Hall on March 2-3, 2019.

Khan, who is of British and Bangladeshi descent, is celebrated for physically demanding, visually arresting solo productions that combine Indian kathak with contemporary dance to tell stories through movement. Khan’s full length solo performances of XENOS conjure the despair and alienation suffered by an Indian soldier recruited to fight for the British Crown in the trenches of World War I.

As an instinctive and natural collaborator, Khan has been a magnet for world-class artists from other cultures and disciplines. His previous collaborators include the National Ballet of China, actress Juliette Binoche, ballerina Sylvie Guillem, singer Kylie Minogue, writer Hanif Kureishi and composer Steve Reich.

In this talk, Akram Khan speaks with Cal Performances’ interim artistic director Rob Bailis in the weekly open session of the Arts + Design course Creativity, Migration, Transformation held at the Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive on Feb. 28, 2019. The event was free and open to the public.

More information about the class can be found on Berkeley Arts and Design’s website.

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