He Who Burns at Dance Theater Workshop

The moment of Alast

ANIKAI Dance is back in NYC this July 13-16 at Dance Theater Workshop.  We’ll be performing He Who Burns, an evening-length work that explores the figure of Iblis, also known Satan, in some Sufi traditions. The performance is rooted in the ancient tradition of syncretism – combining dance and theatre, elements of Islam and Hinduism, and growing out of performance styles as divergent as Brazilian Capoeira, Japanese Butoh, Sanskrit theater, contact improvisation, West African dance and American sign language poetry. Since its Delhi and Chennai premiere performances in 2006, it has been seen The Kennedy Center, Boston University, The Ailey Citigroup Theater in New York, and  most recently at venues throughout India as part of ANIKAI’s 2011 India Tour.

Performances are July 13-16, 7:30 PM at Dance Theater Workshop. www.dancetheaterworkshop.org/anikai

HE WHO BURNS  is a dance-theater piece exploring the nature of humanity’s relationship with the divine, the eternal quest for unity, and the illusion of duality in the human experience. It takes our notion of good and evil, the divine and the satanic, and turns it on its head. Staged as a trio, He Who Burns takes us on a journey from the time before time, through the suffering of Iblis in his separation from his Beloved, and his quest for the same, through to his ecstatic annihilation. The performance at once parallels the Sufi quest, as outlined in the great Sufi text “Conference of the Birds” and the structure of the Bharata Natyam performance. The text, from the Persian, Arabic and Urdu of Al-Hallaj, Faiz Ahmed Faiz, Mohammed Iqbal, Al Ghazzali, Hafiz and Maulana Jelaluddin Rumi, is performed in Urdu, English and Korean.

HE WHO BURNS will be performed by Eunjung Kim, Pradhuman Nayak, and Wendy Jehlen with music by Nandlal Nayak video by Wendy Jehlen, and a new lighting design by Holly Ko.

I’ve started a kickstarter project to help make He Who Burns Deaf-accessible (and more Hearing-accessible!) http://kck.st/lVuGl9

He Who Burns contains poetry spoken mostly in Urdu, and occasionally in English and Korean.  All of the texts are projected in English, making the piece accessible both to the Hearing, English speaking audience, and the Deaf, English reading audience.  There is one section, Parishan, in which the dance is choreographed around an ASL poem, which is a version of the text spoken in Urdu and Korean, so that the Deaf/signing audience can ignore the projected text.

We also have a scholar of Sufism from Pakistan, S. Nomanul Haq, who tours with us, and who gives a pre-show talk at the beginning of each evening.  For this, the general theater announcements, and for the Q & A after the show, I am committed to having American Sign Language interpreters there.

Two years ago when we performed the piece in Boston, NY and DC, we had wonderful interpreters and significant Deaf audience at every show.  As an interpreter myself and as someone who holds Deaf culture, arts and the Deaf community close to my heart, this was a wonderful and inspiring experience.

We need to raise $1000 for the projector to project the video/text, and $500 to pay for interpreters for all four nights.

The rewards for this project are all related to the run at DTW. If you are not in NYC, come on down! Or, we’d be happy to send you a DVD, including the pre-show lecture with ASL interpretation, or you can gift the tickets and workshop spot to a friend, or take a raincheck.

I will be giving a workshop on Thursday and Friday, July 14 and 15, from 1-3 PM, in the theater space. The workshop will draw on the my choreographic process, technique, and my approach to making movement with and/or from text.

Thanks so much for your support and hope to see you there!

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