Danse Danse is kicking off the new year with the North American premiere of In-I, a collaboration between two artists of prodigious talent and charisma: the world-renowned French actress Juliette Binoche and British choreographer-dancer Akram Khan. Without a doubt the most anticipated event of the season, In-I features these two forces of nature in a set designed by acclaimed visual artist-sculptor Anish Kapoor. This unique project is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see the great actress on stage in a bold and breathtaking choreography. “In-I is an admirable exercise in pure audacity” (Financial Times, London). “The show scuds on their joint magnetism … The duo’s dedication is palpable” (Sunday Times). In-I will be presented at the Salle Pierre-Mercure of the Centre Pierre-Péladeau from January 6 to 17, 2009.
In-I is above all an exercise in risk-taking. Binoche dances for the first time on stage, while Khan ventures into the domain of theatre. In personal quests with universal reverberations, the two are each blazing new paths. Their unique interaction is highlighted by the sets designed by Anish Kapoor (Turner Prize, 1991), the splendid lighting by Michael Hulls (Russell Maliphant Company, Danse Danse 2005-2006), and the music by Philip Sheppard. In-I premiered in London last September before going on to the Teatro Olympico in Rome, La Monnaie in Brussels and the Théâtre de la Ville in Paris. Following its Montreal run, In-I will continue its world tour with stops in such cultural capitals as Abu Dhabi, Sydney, Tokyo, Seoul and New York.
French actress Juliette Binoche began her career in theatre, performing in works by Chekhov and Pirandello, among many others. In 1985 André Téchiné’s film Rendez-vous established her as one of the most promising actresses of her generation. She won the Romy-Schneider Prize for outstanding actress of the year in 1986. Two years later she starred in the award-winning The Unbearable Lightness of Being, her first English-language film and the first of several to be produced outside of France. She went on to become the muse of director Léos Carax, for whom she made two films: Mauvais sang (1986; Bad Blood) and Les Amants du Pont-Neuf (1991; Lovers on the Pont-Neuf), a work that would occupy her for three years.
After two films in English (Damage, Wuthering Heights), Kieslowski’s Blue (1993) marked a new stage in her career. Her performance earned her a César in Paris and a Best Actress Award in Venice. As the devoted French-Canadian nurse in Anthony Minghella’s The English Patient, she won an Oscar Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress in 1997 and a Silver Bear in Berlin. In search of strong characters and adventurous settings, she then appeared in various period films, including Le Hussard sur le toit (1995; The Horseman on the Roof), Chocolat (2000) and La Veuve de Saint-Pierre (2000; The Widow of St. Pierre).
Equally convincing as George Sand (Les Enfants du siècle, 1999) or a cheeky beautician (Décalage horaire, 2002), Juliette Binoche has never abandoned auteur films. After another collaboration with Téchiné (Alice et Martin, 1998), she starred in thought-provoking works by Michael Haneke—Code inconnu (2000) and Caché (2005)—and Abel Ferrara (Mary, 2005). Inquisitive and passionate, she has chosen scripts dealing with hard-hitting political issues: the crimes of apartheid (In My Country (Country of My Skull), 2003); the fate of refugees (Breaking and Entering, 2006); the Israeli-Palestinian conflict (Désengagement, 2007). Although she starred in two very French films in 2008—Cédric Klapisch’s Paris and Olivier Assayas’ L’Heure d’été—and a typically American comedy (Dan in Real Life) the previous year, she continues to work with some of the masters of international cinema, including Hou Hsiao Hsien (Le Ballon Rouge, 2007) and Abbas Kirostami (Copie conforme, 2007).
In the spring of 2006, audiences of Danse Danse were left spellbound by Akram Khan’s ma. His high-powered and spectacular dance—a fusion of classical kathak and contemporary Western dance—captures the spirit of the time while igniting the imagination. Associated with Sadler’s Wells in London, Akram Khan is the most acclaimed choreographer of his generation working in Britain today. His hybrid style resists all categorization. He has collaborated with numerous artists from diverse fields, among whom composer Steve Reich, sculptor Antony Gormley, ballerina Sylvie Guillem, choreographer-dancer Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui, and singer Kylie Minogue.
Born in London in 1974, Akram Khan began dancing in the kathak tradition (a classical dance from northern India) at the age of seven. He also appeared on stage at an early age, notably in Peter Brook’s The Mahabharata, which toured worldwide from 1987 to 1989. In 1994 he began his studies in contemporary dance at De Montfort University in Leicester. After graduating, he won a coveted place on the X-Group project organized by P.A.R.T.S., Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker’s school in Brussels.
After creating primarily solo choreographies for five years, he formed his own troupe in London in 2000: the Akram Khan Company. The troupe’s first production, Rush, met with great acclaim, as did its next two works, Kaash and ma, the latter receiving a South Bank Award; these last two works earned him a strong international following, leading to world tours. In 2005, the duet zero degrees, choreographed and performed with Flemish dancer Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui, was also an international triumph, winning the Australian Helpmann Award in 2007 for Best Choreography. In 2006, at the request of dancer Sylvie Guillem, he created Sacred Monsters, a duet he performed with her on a world tour. In 2007 he created Lost Shadows in collaboration with Lin Hwai-Min for the Cloud Gate Dance Theatre in Taiwan. In early 2008, Akram premiered bahok, a collaboration between the Akram Khan Company and the National Ballet of China.
Danse Danse convey you to a unique dance-theatre duet with the magnificent French actress Juliette Binoche alongside one of the world’s leading British dancer/choreographers Akram Khan. In-I will be presented at the Salle Pierre-Mercure of the Centre Pierre-Péladeau from January 6 to 17, 2009 at 8 p.m. Tickets starting at $60 (not including box office fees, service charges and taxes) are available at the Centre Pierre-Péladeau box office (514-987-6919), the Place des Arts box office (514-842-2212, 1-866-842-2112), and via Admission (514-790-1245).
Duration: 70 minutes
Directed and performed by:
Juliette Binoche & Akram Khan
National Theatre, London
Théâtre de la Ville, Paris
Grand Théâtre de Luxembourg
Romaeuropa Festival, Rome and Accademia Filarmonica Romana
La Monnaie, Brussels
Sydney Opera House, Sydney
Arts Council England
The Bell Cohen Charitable Foundation
Théâtre de l’Ouest Parisien – Boulogne-Billancourt
CULTURESFRANCE – Ministère des affaires européennes et étrangères
Global tour sponsored by:
Khan Chaudhry Productions et Jubilations Productions
Akram Khan Company
Juliette Binoche's make-up by Lancôme International, hair by l’Oréal
International for publicity events.
rehearsal): Marianne Rosenstiehl . Dancers Akram Khan and Juliette Binoche