Star in the city
Actress Juliette Binoche and British dancer and choreographer Akram Khan discuss their new collaboration at Leicester's new Curve theatre. BBC Leicester's Helen McCarthy went to meet them. Listen again to the interview.
Hollywood star Juliette Binoche is currently in town and is performing at Leicester's new Curve theatre.
She has joined forces with one of the world's leading dancers and choreographers, Akram Khan, to create a new production of dance theatre.
The set has been designed by Turner prize-winning artist Anish Kapoor.
In-i is co-produced by Leicester Theatre Trust. Leicester is the only place in the UK outside of London where it's being performed.
It's part of Paris Calling, a Franco-British season of performing arts.
So what does the multi-talented, Oscar-winning actress, think of Leicester?
Listen: Interview with Juliette Binoche and Akram Khan
BBC Leicester's Helen McCarthy has been to speak with Juliette and Akram to discuss their new collaboration, backstage at the new Curve theatre.
She started off by asking the Oscar winning actress what she thought of the city:
"I didn't even know where it was on the map, but I'm glad I discovered it.
"I had time to walk around and enjoy it very much. I took pictures and sent them to my children in Paris. That was before the snow, but even with the snow it's beautiful.
"I went to the Cathedral went to little shops here and there."
Asked about the production, Juliette says:
"It's something about looking inside of yourself and being able to see the 'other' through yourself.
"It's about relationships and we've put our heart in it, and trying to combine our different experiences."
Akram Khan, Juliette Binoche With Helen
Acting aside, a challenging part of this production for Juliette was the dancing.
But she admits, it's helped her to get in shape:
"Touch me and see.
"I discovered my energy more than my muscles."
But Akram studied dance at Leicester's De Montfort University. He is renowned for his performances with everyone from ballet star Sylvie Guillem to pop star Kylie Minogue.
World famous dancers usually study in Paris, London or New York, so why did he choose Leicester?
Helen asked him if Leicester was his first choice.
He admits: "They were the only ones who would accept me.
"My community was putting pressure on me to get a degree. You know to become a doctor or a scientist and I didn't want to do any of this, so I looked through a prospectus and it said contemporary dance and I didn't know what that was but I went for it and it was the best decision of my life."
Akram adds that what he learnt here at the Scraptoft campus, helped him develop his future career.
He explains: "The teachers weren't about form but they were interested in the spirit and the emotional story. At the time I didn't get it, I wanted form.
"It was very great that I started here."
As a parting gift, Helen offered Juliette some of Leicestershire's finest products on offer.
A packet of Walker's chilli and chocolate flavour crisps, a pork-pie and a photograph of BBC Leicester's most famous personality, Tony Wadsworth.
Juliette admitted she wasn't quite sure what do with that!
IN-I showing at the Curve Theatre from 05 Feb - 07 Feb 2009
last updated: 06/02/2009 at 16:02
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