Mark Morris Dance Group
Mark Morris, Artistic Director
Silk Road Ensemble
with Alim Qasimov and Fargana Qasimova
Layla and Majnun
(Hajibeyli, arr. by Gandelsman, Jacobsen, and Qasimov/Morris)
"Deconstructs and distills the poetic legend with charm and taste"--The New York Times
Based on an ancient Persian tale as poignant and beautiful as Romeo and Juliet, Layla and Majnun tells a passionate story of tragic love. When a young man's zealous feelings for his childhood love Layla earn him the nickname Majnun, or "possessed," his perceived madness turns their would-be union into scandal, misfortune, and eternal longing. In the hands of Mark Morris's talented dancers, known for their vivid and accessible style, this new Kennedy Center co-commission promises to be both tenderly wrought and aesthetically stunning--no surprise, given their last Kennedy Center appearance in 2012 was hailed as "a visual feast" by the Washington Post.
In line with Morris's signature "undeviating devotion to music" (The New Yorker), his dancers are joined onstage by vocalists and musicians from the "vibrant and virtuosic" Silk Road Ensemble (The Wall Street Journal). The Ensemble plays traditional Asian instruments combined with Western strings, all against a striking and colorful background designed by esteemed English painter Howard Hodgkin, for a unique combination of movement, sight, and sound.
Mar. 22: Free post-performance discussion