“With this arresting take on an episode from the Mahabharata, Khan creates an epic theatrical space and a battleground”
On the day she’s set to choose her husband, the princess Amba is abducted by Bheeshma and stripped of her honour. With her chances for love and marriage thwarted, Amba rises up and invokes the gods to seek revenge. This partial adaptation of Karthika Naïr’s Until the Lions: Echoes from the Mahabharata
, a collection of poetry about the overlooked female characters in the Sanskrit epic poem the Mahabharata
, fuses Indian kathak, contemporary dance, and live music to give life to Amba’s tale, exploring the physical expression of gender.
Award-winning choreographer and dancer Akram Khan (seen in Toronto with Desh
and Luminato’s 2011 Confluence
) and two remarkable female dancers, Ching-Ying Chien and Joy Alpuerto Ritter, bring us a story of fearlessness and power that The Guardian
called “lean, thrilling and beautiful.”
As in many myths, the female characters are often the unsung heroes, the figures of strength and imagination and endurance. It is their unsung stories in particular that still haunt me today
Until the Lions
brings together some of Khan’s stellar past collaborators including writer Karthika Naïr and visual artist Tim Yip (Crouching Tiger
, Hidden Dragon
). Presented in the round in a custom-built temporary theatre in the Canadian Opera Company complex on Front Street East with an original score performed live, it’s a battle for the ages.
Photos by Jean Louis Fernandez