World Premiere of REORIENT THE ORIENT Comes to REDCAT in March

Perforamnces are on Saturday March 9 and Sunday March 10, 2024.

By: Feb. 21, 2024
World Premiere of REORIENT THE ORIENT Comes to REDCAT in March
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Roy and Edna Disney CalArts Theater will present the world premiere of Reorient the Orient, a career retrospective from renowned Los Angeles choreographer and performer Lionel Popkin, on Saturday March 9 and Sunday March 10, 2024.

Reorient the Orient is Popkin’s response to the dubious history of interculturalism. A durational (8 hours) performance event and multimodal installation, which includes video, ephemeral objects, printed matter, historical context, contemporary responses, and scored movement activities--as social agitation.

Seeking to expand the discourse on how brown South Asian bodies inhabit contemporary art and performance spaces, Popkin draws from his nearly 30-year archive of dance-making. In REDCAT’s theater and gallery, dancers, videos, archival materials, rugs, sculptures, neon yellow waffle balls, and the headpiece from an elephant costume invite audiences to make their way, choosing where to be and what to see.

Popkin elaborates on the forthcoming experience, “No person will see it all. This is purposeful. The audience can stay as long as they like and arrive whenever they wish. The project unpacks dubious histories and experiences in multiple trajectories. One track traces how orientalism has dictated the way South Asian performers exist in American art spaces, using a series of historical figures to ground the conversation. Another spans my archive of over thirty years of making art in the U.S. as I have wrestled with the quandaries of my mixed diasporic background. A third is how you (the audience) navigate through the complex modes of display present in the theater, the gallery, and the lobby.” 

The design team for this project features Meena Murugesan, a 'Bessie' Award-winning video designer who previously collaborated with Popkin, while Marcus Kuiland Nazario, serving as Costume Designer, joins forces with Popkin for their third project together. The music, composed by Tom Lopez, a Professor of Music Composition at Oberlin College, reflects their collaborative history. Popkin and Lopez initially worked together in 1988 reconnecting in 2017 after nearly 30 years, inspiring a synergy of approaches perfectly aligned with this project's vision. Finally, archivist Cori Olinghouse, Popkin’s former colleague from the Trisha Brown Company, has a practice dedicated to the archiving and contextualizing of embodied histories and will bring her expertise to the book project.

Performance tickets include access to the Reorient the Orient installation in the theater and gallery, on view from 2:00pm to 10:00pm. Performance times are 3:00pm and 7:30pm. Taking place at REDCAT in downtown Los Angeles (631 West 2nd Street, 90012), tickets cost $27, with discounts available for REDCAT members, students and the CalArts community ($14-$22). For tickets and more information, please visit: https://www.redcat.org/events/2024/lionel-popkin.

Cast and Creative Team:

  • Performed by Jay Carlon, Lionel Popkin, Arushi Singh, and Wilfried Souly

  • Original Sound by Tom Lopez

  • Video Design by Meena Murugesan

  • Lighting Design by Christopher Kuhl

  • Costume Design and Visual Consultation by Marcus Kuiland Nazario

  • Artist and Archive Consultation by Cori Olinghouse

  • Stage Manager Paige O’Mara

  • Production Assistant Jackie Davis

  • Map Design by Jesse Bonnell, Foghorn & Co.


Reorient the Orient is the recipient of a National Performance Network (NPN) commission with REDCAT in Los Angeles as the lead commissioner and Dance Place in Washington, D.C. as a co-commissioner. Additional funds come from the UCLA Council on Research, The UCLA Chancellor’s Arts Initiative, the National Performance Network’s Storytelling and Documentation Fund, and the Mellon Foundation.




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