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2009 Event Media Release - Juliette Binoche & Akram Khan

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Issued 18 August, 2008

Juliette Binoche & Akram Khan 'IN - I'
18 – 28 February

Sydney Opera House presents the luminous French stage and screen actress,  Juliette Binoche, and dancer/choreographer, Akram Khan, in a synthesis of movement and storytelling, IN-I from 18 – 28 February.

These two international stars will showcase their own craft while exploring new creative territory by embracing that of the other. Lending their individual talents, disciplines, ideas and artforms to the production, Binoche and Khan have collaborated to create, produce and co-direct the work.

Although IN-I deals with grand universal themes, it remains rooted in a personal exploration of questions about love and relationships.

Binoche, who makes her dance debut in the piece, has been training for two years in preparation. IN-I will also mark a first for Khan, who will act, sing and play guitar on stage in addition to dancing.

IN-I marks Binoche’s return to the stage for the first time in 10 years. Best known for her films including Chocolat, Damage, Breaking and Entering, The Unbearable Lightness of Being, Blue and The English Patient, for which she won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress, Binoche took up the challenge to dance at an age when most dancers have already hung up their pointe shoes.

On working with Khan, Binoche said, “I’m in the mood now to do something I don’t yet know how to do. We all have possibilities within us. With Akram, I felt that we could confront and share new desires, hopes and visions through our respective arts by inventing a common language. I don't know the result yet, but I know the path that we're taking is changing me radically. Any artistic expression is a means to an opening which doesn't belong to anyone but links us to each other in a mysterious and necessary way.”

Khan, the Balham-born Bangladeshi will showcase his vitality, passion and creativity for cross-cultural expression which has been influenced by his training in Western contemporary dance and Kathak, the Indian classical genre.

Khan commented: "Throughout my career, I have sought out unexpected collaborations with other artists to explore ideas and themes that are important to me. This project with Juliette has pushed me in unexpected directions and has been one of the most challenging experiences of my life. I think we are both moving outside our comfort zones through working together to create something completely new."

Turner Prize-winning artist,  Anish Kapoor, will design the set and an original score composed by cellist Philip Sheppard will accompany the work.

IN-I will have its world premiere on 18 September 2008 at the National Theatre, London ahead of an international tour. 

Akram Khan began dancing at the age of seven, studying under the great Kathak performer Sri Pratap Pawar. A rising star in the world of modern dance, Khan’s charisma is based on his background in classical Indian Kathak dance.

He presented solo performances in the 1990s gradually developing larger scale works. Drawing on his experience as a Kathak dancer and breaking new ground in collaborations with other artists, such as ballerina Sylvie Guillem and composer Nitin Sawhney, his first  full-length work Kaash was presented by SOH in 2002.

His production Ma was presented at the Edinburgh Festival and SOH in 2004. In 2005 he was made an associate artist of Sadler’s Wells and Zero Degrees, a collaboration with Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui, Antony Gormley and Nitin Sawhney was premiered at Sadler’s Wells in the same year. In 2005 he received an MBE for his services to dance.

Akram Khan was also invited by Kylie Minogue in Summer 2006 to choreograph a part of her new Showgirl concert which opened in Australia in November 2006, and toured to the UK (London and Manchester) in January 2007.

Academy Award-winning French actress Juliette Binoche is best known for her roles in award-winning films such as The English Patient and Chocolat. She is affectionately known in France as “La Binoche,” having developed a reputation as a free-thinking, luminous femme fatale, turning down a role in Steven Spielberg’s Jurassic Park and refusing a part opposite Tom Cruise in Mission: Impossible, expressing an aversion to playing the seductive feminine stereotype. An avid philanthropist, Binoche is involved with many charitable organizations and is godmother to nine Cambodian orphans.

Philip Sheppard, who wrote the score for Sacred Monsters, most recently seen at SOH in March 2008, returns to provide another compelling original score. Sheppard is a virtuoso cellist and a pioneer of the electric cello. He is a professor at the Royal Academy of Music and has composed extensively for film, television and theatre and is a prolific recording artist. Philip recently composed the BBC Television Easter production The Manchester Passion as well as compositions for Horizon, Simon Schama’s History of Britain and Theatre de complicite’s The Elephant Vanishes. He has written and recorded with Scott Walker, David Bowie, Damien Hirst, Oasis and Unkle, and appears as an improvising soloist on the soundtracks of The Business, The Virgin Queen, Harry Potter: The Goblet of Fire and Hotel Rwanda.

Season Details
Dates: 18 – 28 February
Venue: Playhouse
Tickets: $80 - $125
Bookings: 9250 7777 / sydneyoperahouse.com

Produced by: Khan Chaudhry Productions & Jubilation Productions
Managed by Akram Khan Company
Global tour sponsored by:
SG Private Banking & Fondation d’entreprise Hermès

Sydney Opera House Adventures Media Partners:
Four Seasons Hotel, Sydney, Signwave, SBS Corporation, Foxtel.

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