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March 6, 2018 > Jangala - inspired by south Indian classical dance

Jangala - inspired by south Indian classical dance

Submitted By Lisa Mezzacappa

Oakland Ballet Company presents the Bay Area premiere of ÒJangala,Ó a dance theater work by Artistic Director Graham Lustig on March 10, 13, and 16 at venues in Oakland, Castro Valley, and San Leandro. ÒJangalaÓ is a family-friendly performance inspired by Rudyard KiplingÕs ÒThe Jungle BookÓ that fuses contemporary ballet with movement vocabulary from the south Indian classical form, bharatanatyam. The dance follows the story of a lost boy, Mowgli, who is adopted by a pack of wolves and must use his wits to survive in the wild. Lustig has transplanted the action to a modern city, reimagining the animal characters and their costumes for the urban jungle of contemporary India, complete with disco nightclubs, construction sites, and junkyards inhabited by feral dogs.

Jangala features a cast of 11 female and five male dancers; the lead role of Mowgli is danced by Sanchit Babbar, an alumnus of the Ailey School (a 2015 graduate of the schoolÕs Scholarship Program) who was born and raised in New Delhi. The recorded music score mixes upbeat bhangra and Bollywood music with classical ragas and folkloric music from across India. The company is joined by guest artist bharatanatyam dancer Nadhi Thekkek, who dances the role of MowgliÕs human mother, Messua. ThekkekÕs Bay Area company, Nava Dance Theatre, will begin the performance with a newly commissioned narrative dance work in the bharatanatyam tradition, created especially for these performances and featuring live music.

Educational performances of ÒJangalaÓ are scheduled for East Bay schoolchildren at Skyline High School Performing Arts Center on March 8 and 9, and at Castro Valley High School Performing Arts Center on March 13. School performances include an introduction both to ballet and to Bharatanatyam and conclude with a Q&A session with the artists.

For more than 53 years, Oakland Ballet Company has inspired the East Bay community and beyond by keeping the art of ballet exciting, relevant and accessible, primarily through the presentation of works of the Diaghilev repertoire and modern masterpieces. Under the leadership of Artistic Director Graham Lustig since 2010, the Company has renewed its commitment to artistic excellence with imaginative programs that engage contemporary audiencesÑthrough close relationships with living choreographers, the commissioning of new works, innovative collaborations with diverse artists and communities, and compelling educational programs that cultivate the next generation of dance lovers.

A cornerstone of Oakland Ballet CompanyÕs 53-year legacy has been engagement with the community. Oakland BalletÕs Discover Dance outreach program features educational programs at East Bay schools, educational in-theater performances, free performances throughout the community at events such as the Oakland Art Murmur and Oakland Dance Festival, ticket donations to season performances, and scholarships to company training programs.

Contact Oakland Ballet for more information at or (510) 893-3132 or visit

Saturday, Mar 10
2:30 p.m.
Rawley T. Farnsworth Theater
Skyline High School
12250 Skyline Blvd, Oakland
(510) 893-3132
Tickets: $20 adults, $15 children

Tuesday, Mar 13
7:00 p.m.
Castro Valley Center for the Arts
19501 Redwood Rd, Castro Valley
(510) 893-3132
Tickets: $20

Friday, Mar 16
7:00 p.m.
San Leandro High School
Performing Arts Center
2250 Bancroft Ave, San Leandro
(510) 893-3132
Free; register to attend

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