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LAYLA AND MAJNUN: Mark Morris Dance Group, The Silk Road Ensemble. Sat, Sept 24 - Sun, Oct 2
Join us for a variety of activities presented in conjunction with the world-premiere performances of Mark Morris' Layla and Majnun, a new dance work based on the centuries-old tale of tragic love beloved throughout the Middle East and Southeast Asia. Explore how universal themes can arise from diverse, culturally specific works; how artists how artists use the idea of inclusion in their creative process; and how, regardless of cultural backgrounds, audiences can see themselves in such works because the artists aim intentionally for inclusion.


Friday, Sept 30, 8pm, Zellerbach Hall (World Premiere)
Saturday, Oct 1, 8pm, Zellerbach Hall
Sunday, Oct 2, 3pm, Zellerbach Hall

Additional Events
These activities mark the first events in Cal Performances' season-long exploration of "Inclusion," a Berkeley RADICAL thematic strand that spans multiple genres from September 2016 –
February 2017.

Additional Inclusion events include:

Kronos Quartet: Sat, 12/3
Black Arm Band: Sun, 2/12
The Nile Project: Sat, 2/18

Layla and Majnun Symposium
Mark Morris Dance Group
The Silk Road Ensemble

Sat, Oct 1, 2pm
BAMPFA Barbro Osher Theater, 2155 Center Street, Berkeley

Take part in a fascinating afternoon of activities offering a wider understanding of a story that has enchanted the peoples of the Middle East and Southeast Asia for more than 1,000 years. A tragic and ecstatic tale of unrequited love, the story of Layla and Majnun, in Mark Morris' words, ultimately conveys "a message of profound, abundant, eternal love."

Layla and Majnun

Adapted and directed by Torange Yeghiazarian, Founding Artistic Director of Golden Thread Productions. The script is based on Nizami's poem and is told in an aesthetic inspired by epic story-tellers and hakawati of the Middle East. The reading is accompanied by images of Layla and Majnun through the ages, including scenes from the new production.

Mutual Understanding: Making Art Together Across Cultures

Artists from the Mark Morris Dance Group and the Silk Road Ensemble discuss their cross-cultural and cross-genre collaboration working to realize this production. With dancers Michelle Yard and Aaron Loux, and musicians Johnny Gandelsman, Colin Jacobsen and Wu Man.

For further exploration

"The Idealization of Love: The Timeless Tale of Layla and Majnun" by Wali Ahmadi, Department of Near Eastern Studies, University of California, Berkeley

"Into the Divine: the Music of Layla and Majnun" by Aida Huseynova, Indiana University Jacobs School of Music
Universal Truths from a Story of Unrequited Love

Story reenactment by Golden Thread Productions accompanied by images from the diverse cultures that have cherished this story for more than 1,000 years, curated by Sanjyot Mehendale, lead scholar of the Silk Road Initiative, UC Berkeley.

Roundtable discussion with:
– Aida Huseynova, Indiana University Jacobs School of Music, author
   of Music of Azerbaijan: From Mugham to Opera
– Fateme Montazeri, UC Berkeley Department of Near Eastern Studies
   and Graduate Theological Union doctoral candidate
– Karen Barkey, Haas Institute for a Fair and Inclusive Society, Haas
   Distinguished Chair in Religious Diversity, UC Berkeley Department
   of Sociology

Free and open to the public. RSVPs recommended.


Cinema Mon Amour: Mark Morris
Layla and Majnun Film Series

BAMPFA Barbro Osher Theater, 2155 Center Street, Berkeley The Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive (BAMPFA) screens four classics of world cinema selected and presented by Mark Morris. A traditional tale, Layla and Majnun, as expressed by the great Persian poet Nizami Ganjavi, has been adapted in many Middle Eastern and subcontinental cultures: Muslim, Sufi, Hindu, and secular. Its central theme of unrequited love is echoed in the films in this series.

Sat, Sept 24, 5:30pm
Abbas Kiarostami's Through the Olive Trees (Iran, 1994)

Sun, Sept 25, 4pm
Tengiz Abuladze's The Wishing Tree (USSR/Georgia)
A reflection upon Georgia society during Soviet rule

Fri, Sept 30, 4pm
Sergei Paradjanov's Ashik Kerib (USSR/Georgia/Azerbaijan)

Sat, Oct 1, 5:45pm
Nikoloz Shengelaia's Eliso (USSR/Georgia; silent film with live piano accompaniment)


Berkeley Forum Interviews Mark Morris
Mon, Sept 26, 6pm (please note time change)
106 Moffitt Library (please note venue change)

Free and open to the public.


Dance with Mark Morris Dance Group
Bancroft Studio

$5 per person. Pre-registration required.



Reaching for the Stars
Arts Learning and Social Justice Forum
The Silk Road Ensemble

Fri, Sep 30, 1–5 pm
Sat, Oct 1, 9:30am–4 pm
Magnes Collection of Jewish Art and Life 2121 Allston Way, Berkeley

Interested in how the arts can unlock learning about social justice? Join us as we examine how culturally specific works of art can open classroom conversations about inclusion. Experience arts-based learning as we explore the ancient tale of Layla & Majnun. Registration includes a ticket to the World Premiere of the story as told by Mark Morris Dance Group and Silk Road Ensemble on Fri, Sep 30.

More information
Limited scholarships available:,
(510) 642-6838.