Arts Center Announces Second Season of Electrifying Music, Dance, Theater and Film

Adventurous and eclectic season will launch in September 2016 following on the success of The Arts Center’s ground-breaking inaugural program

Press Release

A 27-hour continuous “ritual” concert , a dance party celebrating 70’s Filipino disco, an immersive performance installation about climate change featuring underwater performers in a human-size aquarium, and a weekend of live cinema featuring string quartet, turntables and robot puppets in love — these are just some of the thought-provoking, inventive, and engaging world-class acts set to thrill audiences at The Arts Center at NYU Abu Dhabi during its highly anticipated second season. From September 2016 to May 2017, the season will introduce an exciting variety of music, dance, theatre, film, and spoken word performances that reflect the dynamic intercultural community of Abu Dhabi.

The first season was aimed at opening The Arts Center doors to the community and introducing audiences to a range of diverse and complex work. The upcoming second season is designed to engage and encourage human connection. Much of the work will touch upon the issues of common humanity with themes such as love, war and peace, technology, ritual, and the environment.

Executive Artistic Director of The Arts Center at NYU Abu Dhabi Bill Bragin says: “Excited by the enthusiastic response to our first season, we wanted to keep building with even more ambitious programs by visionary artists who push the boundaries between forms and disciplines. Already, we’ve found that audiences are willing and eager to come on weekly artistic adventures to unfamiliar territory with us. It’s through these shared artistic experiences, and the resulting conversations, that we are working to build community in the UAE, and show the role that arts can play — sparking civic dialogue, inspiring, and entertaining.”

The NYUAD Arts Center aspires to be an internationally renowned performing arts center that presents distinguished professional artists from around the world alongside student, faculty, and community productions.

Additional programs may be added, and all artists and dates are subject to change. Reservations for free tickets will be opened approximately two weeks prior to most events. Standby tickets are often available at the door.

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September 1–2, 2016 Nik Bärtsch’s Mobile will perform a continuous 27-hour concert of “Ritual Groove Music” — a performance installation featuring formal concerts and extended musical bridges throughout the night and day, experienced in multiple spaces in The Arts Center.

September 8–9, 2016, In Belgian/Palestinian collaboration Badke, by les ballets C de la B, KVS, and A.M. Qattan Foundation, young dancers push themselves to new extremes in joyous bursts of traditional dabke, infused with modern dance, hip-hop, capoeira, and circus, driven by Nasser Al-Faris’ infectious score.

September 21–22, Zahed Sultan and DJ Dolores will share a double bill. Kuwait’s Zahed Sultan will present an immersive live performance integrating music, visuals and light. Brazil’s DJ Dolores mashes up his bands Orchestra Santa Massa and Frevotron in a musical hybrid of breakbeats, dub, and Northeastern Brazilian regional music.

October 6–7, A euphoric two-part celebration of popular Filipino music with Disco Manila. Part 1 (October 6) is a dance concert of late 70’s disco sounds featuring stars from that era — Spanky Rigor and Roger Rigor, co-founders of VST & Company, and The Union [featuring Jet Montelibano (formerly of “Music & Magic”), Jessica Casas (formerly of “Something Special”), Nino de Jesus (formerly of “New Minstrels”), Jo-ann Visitacion, Fulton Montoya]. Part 2 offers a participatory evening of live band karaoke (October 7).

From October 12–15, The NYU Abu Dhabi Theater Department will present its Mainstage Student production Yellow Brick Road, an experimental theatrical adaptation of L. Frank Baum’s classic novel, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, directed by Tomi Tsonud. The devised work will explore conversations around climate crisis, displacement, bureaucracy and survival in examination of global crisis.

October 27, Driss El Maloumi & Debashish Bhattacharya brings together the Moroccan oud master with the Hindustani slide guitar wizard in a summit of string virtuosos commissioned by The Arts Center.

November 2–3, Stew and Heidi Rodewald’s Notes Of A Native Song introduces an incisive, poignant and funny “concert novel” from the Tony-Award winning creators of Passing Strange, inspired by playwright, novelist and essayist, James Baldwin.

November 16–19, performers inhabit a human-size aquarium which floods and re-floods in Lars Jan/Early Morning Opera’s Holoscenes, a visceral performance installation that embodies the trauma of global warming and rising water levels. Presented in association with Abu Dhabi Art.

November 25–28, Arab Voices: Here / There / Then / Now will spotlight vital contemporary Arabic theater during a festival of staged readings featuring work by Arab and Arab-American playwrights.

December 5, Hekayah | The Story returns for a second year to showcase Emirati and UAE culture in a multiple-artist National Day celebration of heritage, poetry, prose, and song.

February 2, acclaimed chamber ensemble Bang On A Can All-Stars cross the boundaries between classical, jazz, rock, world, and experimental music. Their UAE debut will include a world premiere piece written for them by Emirati-American composer Mohammed Fairouz, commissioned by The Arts Center and the Abu Dhabi Music & Art Foundation. The Bang on a Can All-Stars will also be in residence for an intensive weekend workshop for contemporary musicians from the region (open by invitation only.)

February 8–9, Julia Wolfe / SITI Company / Bang on a Can All-Stars’ Steel Hammer creatively explores the subject of human vs. machine in a spectacularly inventive and original music theatre production based on the American folk legend of John Henry.

February 16–17 will feature a weekend long festival spotlighting a spectrum of global sounds which mix roots and modern, local and global.

On February 16, Aziz Sahmaoui & University Of Gnawa and Noura Mint Seymali share a bill that crosses the Sahara from North to West Africa. University of Gnawa is a globe-trotting collaboration bringing together Orchestre National de Barbes co-founder Sahmaoui’s mix of gnawa, rock, and jazz with high-flying Senegalese experimentalists. Mauritania’s defining contemporary artist, Noura Mint Seymali electrifies the traditions of the Moorish griot with hypnotic psychedelic rock.

February 17 will introduce an evening of Ukrainian “ethno chaos” with Dakhabrakha,who combine beguiling harmonies, ecstatic beats and brilliant theatrics. Sharing the bill are Dengue Fever, known for their powerful blend of 60’s Cambodian pop, psychedelic rock and global grooves.

February 24–25, in Trisha Brown: In Plain Site, the Trisha Brown Dance Company brings a site specific program of Brown’s pioneering post-modern dance to unexpected locations around NYUAD’s campus.

Imagine Science Abu Dhabi will return to NYUAD between March 2–4 highlighting unique voices in science, art and film in the UAE and wider region. This film festival looks into natural, technological and theoretical worlds through the power of film.

March 14, An Iliad, a tour-de-force solo play starring Tony-Award winner Denis O’Hare, retells Homer’s epic poem of love, battles, gods, and honor, adapted by visionary creators Lisa Peterson and Denis O’Hare.

March 30–31, Vijay Iyer with International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE) perform Iyer’s score accompanying Prashant Bhargava’s Festival of Colors-themed film Radhe Radhe (Rites Of Holi), inspired by Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring. On the first half of the program, the Vijay Iyer Trio, called “the best piano trio in jazz trio”, will share another side of composer Iyer’s remarkable talent.

April 6–7, Soledad Barrio & Noche Flamenca’s Antigona presents Martin Santangelo’s powerful adaptation of of Sophocles’ classic play about the authority of the state and its patriarchy, told through flamenco music and dance.

May 11–12, wrapping up the second season at The Arts Center at the NYUAD with a family-friendly event for all to enjoy, Montreal-based scratch DJ Kid Koala will present a magically creative live cinema production using puppets, turntables, and a string quartet in Kid Koala’s Nufonia Must Fall — a wordless story about robots in love.

Finally, through the duration of NYUAD’s second season, Rooftop Rhythms, the Middle East’s longest running poetry open mic night produced by impresario Dorian “Paul D” Rodgers returns for a fifth season with events hosted on campus at the end of every month on Fridays between September 2016 – May 2017.

For more information please visit: Reservations for free tickets will be opened approximately two weeks prior to most events.
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About NYU Abu Dhabi

NYU Abu Dhabi is the first comprehensive liberal arts and research campus in the Middle East to be operated abroad by a major American research university. NYU Abu Dhabi has integrated a highly selective undergraduate curriculum across the disciplines with a world center for advanced research and scholarship. The university enables its students in the sciences, engineering, social sciences, humanities, and arts to succeed in an increasingly interdependent world and advance cooperation and progress on humanity’s shared challenges. NYU Abu Dhabi’s high-achieving students have come from over 115 countries and speak over 115 languages. Together, NYU's campuses in New York, Abu Dhabi, and Shanghai form the backbone of a unique global university, giving faculty and students opportunities to experience varied learning environments and immersion in other cultures at one or more of the numerous study-abroad sites NYU maintains on six continents.