Faun started from a desire to create a performance around dancer James O'Hara. As part of the centenary celebrations of the Ballets Russes, Sadler's Wells Theatre in London also invited Cherkaoui to work on or draw inspiration from any of the pieces of the repertoire of the legendary company. Cherkaoui chose L’après midi d'un faune, Nijinski's choreography inspired by Stéphane Mallarmé's poem and danced on Claude Debussy's impressionistic music. Nijinski's version based itself on Greek representations on vases, it was very two dimensional, very classical yet also daring, sexual and quite controversial in it's time. Cherkaoui tried, while working with James, to focus more on the fact that the Faun is half animal and half man. Its movements are more wild, visceral and carefree. Daisy Phillips enters the stage as a Nymph, deeply rooted in the forest. The interaction of faun and nymph on stage is innocent yet filled with the sexual tension of the original choreography of Nijinski, with playfulness they are like children, yet also archaïc like old souls. To make the music more surprising and contemporary, less cultural and time specific, Cherkaoui asked composer Nitin Sawhney to interrupt Debussy's composition with his own musical language, making it glide almost unnoticeably from one style and culture to another, from one century to another. Hussein Chalayan takes care of the costumes of these two creatures: he develops something looking natural and organic yet very synthetic as well. They become as much eternal archetypes as creatures of the present.