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Akram Khan backlash as 400 sign open letter following female choreographer comments

Akram Khan. Photo: Tristram Kenton Akram Khan. Photo: Tristram Kenton
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UPDATE: Akram Khan responds

About 400 members of the dance industry have hit back at claims made by choreographer Akram Khan that the sector does not need more female choreographers “for the sake of it”.

An open letter, published on The Stage, responds to comments made by Khan in relation to the ongoing debate around career opportunities for female choreographers.

Signatories include Siobhan Davies, Wayne McGregor, Tim Etchells and Shobana Jeyasingh, who last year described attitudes towards female choreographers as “condescending”.

Speaking to The Stage earlier this month, Khan acknowledged the importance of addressing a problem, but said: “We should be aware of it and see what is going wrong, but at the same time I don’t want to say we should have more female choreographers for the sake of having more female choreographers.”

The letter states Khan’s comments demonstrates “a failure to acknowledge the ongoing important and multivocality of cultural critique” and said it aimed to challenge any “flippant dismissal” of the need for positive discrimination in the dance sector.

It also emphasises that there is no shortage of female choreographers working in the industry, but an imbalance in “the number of women who achieve certain levels and types of representation”.

The letter adds: “For there to be change we can’t just wait around for the next wave of dance ‘godmothers’ to emerge from the woodwork. Change needs to be constructed carefully and patterns of support for the marginalised need to be learnt.”

Read the letter in full below:


Open letter-1 Open letter-2 Open letter-3


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