During WWI, over 4 million men of color were mobilized by the European and American armies. Around 1.5 million of them were from India, mostly peasant-warriors from North and North-Western India, who fought and died in Europe, Africa and the Middle East. In service to the myths of Empire, dislocated from their homelands and cultures, their stories have until recently remained in the shadows. In Akram Khan’s latest work, XENOS, which is set for its world premiere at the Onassis Cultural Centre on February 21, the experiences of these colonial soldiers are brought to artistic life on stage, in what is anxiously awaited as Khan’s last dancing solo in a full-length production.
Khan himself comments: “I will investigate specific questions that confront me more and more every day, like a shadow constantly following me, haunting me, whispering to me… Do we need to tell other people’s stories in case they vanish? Who are the ‘other’ people? Are stories of human journeys told, retold, and told again, so we can eventually learn from our mistakes? Who are ‘we’, a collective or many individuals? What makes us human? Are we still human?”
Moving between classical kathak and contemporary dance, and taking place between East and West, past and present, mythology and technology, where humanity still stands in wonder and disarray, XENOS brings together a stellar creative team, pairing the talents of dramaturg Ruth Little and acclaimed Canadian playwright Jordan Tannahill, German designer Mirella Weingarten, award-winning lighting designer Michael Hulls, costume designer Kimie Nakano, and composer Vincenzo Lamagna.
Watch the teaser trailer for XENOS here.
Joining Akram Khan onstage will be percussionist B C Manjunath, vocalist Aditya Prakash, bass player Nina Harries, violinist Andrew Maddick, and saxophonist Tamar Osborn.