Khamsin grew out of London Contemporary Dance Theatre's policy of opening up dance to the general public. In York in 1976, the company allowed the public in to watch Robert Cohan creating the work in the studio. Dance works are usually created behind closed doors. There is no generally accepted method of writing dance steps down, so a choreographer does not write a 'script' for the dancers to learn. He works directly onto the dancers, and may use existing ideas, or take inspiration from the dancers themselves or their chance movements. Sometimes inspiration comes very slowly and Cohan was terrified that, in front of an audience, he would dry up completely. 'Khamsin' is the name of a wind in the Sahara which is said to bring mirages and hallucinations. This stunning image conveys the idea of unattainable or lost love, the swathe of fabric distancing the woman from the man.