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Akram Khan at The Grange

HAMPSHIRE’S Grange Festival has been working with celebrated dance maker Akram Khan. Sadler’s Wells Associate Artist Khan has spent four weeks in rehearsals at The Grange creating his much-anticipated new opus. Called XENOS, a solo inspired by Greek mythology, it will be his last performance as a dancer in a full-length production.

Akram Khan told the Daily Echo: “Creating at The Grange provided an extraordinary environment to gather the creative team and make the most of our time with the stage, working on set, lights, music, dance and dramaturgy. It enabled us to work in unison, to focus, grow and develop, thanks to the creative energy of this unique space, truly inspiring.”

Sadler’s Wells presents the UK premiere of XENOS from 29 May until 9 June in 2018 as part of an international tour. The London performances mark the opening night of the 14-18 NOW commemoration season. As Grange-based rehearsals drew to a close, The Grange Festival organised an Education day involving over 200 students from across seven local state schools and colleges, who attended a short rehearsal, and a Q&A with Akram Khan.

The Grange Festival and Studio Wayne McGregor recently announced a new partnership, with McGregor appointed as Director of Dance, creating exclusive evenings of dance for The Grange Festival each season from 2018. It is the first time that a country house opera festival has appointed a director for dance, and the first time that dance becomes a central pillar of country house programming.

The Akram Khan Residency underlines The Grange Festival’s plans to make dance a central pillar of the main festival’s season, and to become a key destination for major international artists. Michael Chance, Artistic Director of The Grange Festival, said: “The creative energy currently in force on stage at The Grange is inspiring. Akram Khan and company are developing their new world touring production in our theatre, getting us all in the zone for our first in-house foray into dance and ballet in 2018, when Wayne McGregor and Ed Watson open our Festival with a brand new couture sequence. The theatre in Arcadia at The Grange is host to world-class opera and dance, a veritable Delphi for the performing arts. It is so good to see that stage come alive in the dark months as well as the midsummer. A dream.”

For the inaugural DANCE@THEGRANGE, McGregor has invited Edward Watson, Principal Dancer with The Royal Ballet to co-curate the two performances. It will include excerpts from McGregor’s thrilling work Atomos, created by Company Wayne McGregor alongside classical iconic ballet pieces performed by world class ballet dancers including Edward Watson. The 2018 season of The Grange Festival opens on 7 June with DANCE@THEGRANGE, followed by a new production of Handel’s Agrippina, Rossini’s The Barber of Seville, Mozart’s The Abduction from the Seraglio, and a concert staging of Bernstein’s Candide to celebrate Bernstein 100.

For further information or to book tickets, please visit www.thegrangefestival.co.uk

Written by Hilary Porter for The Southern Daily Echo, original version can be found here.

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