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The Music Center on Location Explores Spirituality and Gender Identity with the U.S. Premiere of Akram Khan’s Until the Lions

 The Music Center On Location™ announced the U.S. premiere of Akram Khan’s Until the Lionsthe retelling of an excerpt from the epic Sanskit poem the Mahabarata through a synthesis of kathak — the Indian classical dance form — and contemporary dance.  Part of the 15th season of Glorya Kaufman Presents Dance at The Music Center (Dance at The Music Center), Until the Lions will be performed by the Akram Khan Company at The Culver Studios in Culver City, CA fromOctober 18 – 21, 2017.  This engagement marks the first time Dance at The Music Center will present a performance at a location outside of the performing arts organization’s Downtown Los Angeles campus and its first-ever on a sound stage.  Until the Lionscombines storytelling with emotional physicality and rugged choreography exploring gender identity, spirituality and passion.  As award-winning choreographer and dancer Akram Khan’s only U.S. performance in 2017, Until the Lions will offer Angelenos a dance experience like no other in a setting that transports the audience to another time and place. 

A partial adaptation of poet Karthika Nair’s book Until the Lions: Echoes from the Mahabharata, Until the Lions explores the notion and physical expression of gender with the tale of Princess Amba, who, after being abducted on her wedding day and stripped of her honor, invokes the gods to seek revenge.  Audiences will be able to reimagine history through this primal tale of the strength and endurance of the female spirit.  Set on a sound stage transformed into a performance space, Until the Lions will feature a mechanical stage that resembles a cross section of a 30-foot tree trunk.  The stage will play a dramatic role in the performance, shifting and opening at key points in the storyline. 

“Akram Khan’s Until the Lions will take Angelenos on an adventure that explores the universal themes of love and revenge through the beauty and intensity of dance,” said Rachel Moore, president and CEO of The Music Center.  “The Music Center On Location™ is thrilled to offer audiences the chance to see this spellbinding production in a location created specifically for this performance, a space where the audience can suspend disbelief and travel to a time where mythical characters electrify the stage and dancers blend art and athleticism into one.”

Until the Lions provides Angelenos with a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to experience dance in an entirely new way.  The Music Center chose to present this engagement at a sound stage because it allowed our team the flexibility to create an environment unique to this production,” said Michael Solomon, vice president of presentations and education for The Music Center.  “The lighting and ambience will set the mood for the evening as people enter the space, while the stage and stadium-style seating will allow them to feel like they are enveloped in the world of the Mahabharata.”

Until the Lions brings together some of the artistic team behind Akram Khan’s multi-award winning solo work DESH, including writer Karthika Naïr, visual artist Tim Yip, lighting designer Michael Hulls and dramaturg Ruth Little.  Noted by The Observer as “Thrilling and beautiful …,” the production features Khan dancing alongside two remarkable female dancers, Ching-Ying Chien and Christine Joy Ritter.  Khan’s last Los Angeles appearance was in 2007.  The Observer commented“Khan gives us theatre that satisfies our deep responsiveness to the mythic, while leaving no cloying aftertaste of sentimentality or kitsch.”

 

 

 

 

 

Khan’s work in Until the Lions will bring the choreographer and dancer full circle as he revisits pieces he performed in his youth while appearing in Peter Brook’s worldwide tour of the nine-hour version of the Mahabarata.

 

 

 

 

 

 

With The Music Center On Location™, The Music Center curates and presents distinctive artistic content in locations outside its 22-acre campus, making it possible for an even wider audience to engage with its innovative, creative approach to the arts. Until the Lions is the second engagement in the Dance at the Music Center season, which launched with a co-presentation of The Red Shoes and will be followed by Malpaso Dance Company on December 1, 2017.

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