Axelrod’s new Contemporary Ballet Theater will kick off its first full season with an innovative take on “East Meets West” of Rudyard Kipling’s classic tale about a boy raised in the wild, “The Jungle Book.” The shows are scheduled for February 2 and 9 at 8 p.m., February 3 at 3 p.m., and February 10 at 1 and 5 p.m. at the Axelrod Performing Arts Center in Deal.
This production will feature the original music of composer and sitar player Neel Murgai in addition to classical and folk music, and the Indian classical dance form known as Bharatanatyam as well as contemporary contemporary ballet. Murgai and tabla player Shivalik Goshal, who are both members of the Brooklyn Raga Massive, will perform on stage, and musical director Jason Tramm will arrange the score and lead a small ensemble of string players. Gabriel Chajnik, artistic director of the Axelrod Contemporary Ballet Theater, and Sudha Shekhar Devulapalli, founder of the Kalanjali School of Dance, work together on the choreography.
“This is the first time an American ballet company has produced a story based on India and presented traditional choreography,” Devulapalli said in a press release. “Blending elements of classical and folk dance from South India with contemporary ballet is an exciting development in the world of dance and encourages greater cultural diversity.”
The costumes are by José Solis, and the masks and headpieces were designed by Tentacle Studios, whose clients include Lady Gaga, Kesha and the Royal Ballet.
Also in the first season of the Axelrod Contemporary Ballet Theatre, “Alice in Wonderland”, a contemporary ballet based on Lewis Carroll’s classic, on August 25 and 27-29; and “The Nutcracker Rocks,” a new version of the holiday favorite with a rock take on the score (created in collaboration with Alex Levine, bassist for The Gaslight Anthem), from December 20-22 and 27-29.
For information, visit axelrodartscenter.com.