Akram Khan Under Siege After Sexist Female Choreographer Statement Goes Viral

By Ian Holubiak on Jan 27, 2016 03:51 PM EST
Akram Khan Under Seige After Sexist Female Choreographer Statement Goes Viral Winner of the South Bank Sky Arts Awards: Dance Akram Khanattends the South Bank Sky Arts Awards at The Dorchester on January 25, 2011 in London, England. (Photo : Ian Gavan/Getty Images)

Famed choreographer Akram Khan has felt a backlash ever since he made a comment about the dance industry not needing more female choreographers "for the sake of it." Now, in a 400-strong signed open letter addressing Khan, those involved in the dance community are speaking out against his seemingly sexist remarks.

Earlier this month, Mr. Khan spoke to the Stage about the importance of women choreographers but undermined his thesis with an off-color comment about not taking immediate action just to satisfy the popular agenda.

Khan said in an open letter:

"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."

While the comments made by Mr. Khan may be rooted in a logical argument, it fails to acknowledge the shortage of female choreographers in the industry. In fact, it undermines the entire basis of the argument, which claims that the imbalance is not merely for the "sake of it" but is a formidable argument protesting the omnipresent sexism prevalent in the dance community.

An open letter signed by 400 dignitaries claims that "In seeking equality, [female choreographers] do not want to simply have more women instrumentalized by the existing power structures of the dance scene."

It continues, "Artistic success can be measured and constructed in many ways, not only in quantitative terms...but also by the artist's own criteria."

Akram Khan has since addressed his sexist claims and apologized for any misinterpretation that was implied. In it, he also writes, "Let's stand together and fight for the art form that we all love so much."

Agreed, Mr. Khan.

While the debate continues, check out Mr. Khan in a video below.

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