Royal Palace of Yogyakarta court dances open Louvre Abu Dhabi’s first season

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Louvre Abu Dhabi has announced its first program of events and activities, beginning with dances of the Indonesian royal courts in February, a Korean puppet show aimed at children and families as well as Bach solo by cellist Sonia Wider-Atherton and dancer Shantala Shivalingappa in March, followed by a recital of Swayambhu and South African dances by Via Sophiatown in April, and finally a concert of Love and Revenge in May.

Following a diversity of performances and talks for thousands of visitors during Louvre Abu Dhabi’s opening week, the program will allow visitors to discover the museum’s universal values and themes through cultural performances and new workshops and tours organized by the museum. The line-up complements the collection on show in the museum’s galleries as well as the special exhibitions’ program and celebrates both traditional and contemporary art forms from around the world.

On the 2 and 3 February, the Court dances of the Royal Palace of Yogyakarta will perform a slow-paced elegant dance that combines Indian, Islamic and Indonesian touches dating back as far as the 7th century. The palace or kraton of Yogyakarta is the cultural heart of the city. From generation to generation, the Sultans of Yogja are the traditional governors of the city and responsible for passing on art and cultural heritage. The entire royal family is involved in preserving these art forms and the troupe must perform with a member of the royal family present. The dances from Yogyakarta will be accompanied by gamelan music, native of Java.

Hissa Al Dhaheri, Deputy Director of Louvre Abu Dhabi, said: “The program celebrates the idea of encounters with other cultures and invites both new and returning visitors to experience a rich offering of performing arts from around the world in addition to talks, tours, workshops and more. Our founding father, the late Sheikh Zayed was committed to nurturing arts and culture as an important element of the UAE’s national vision. For 2018, the Year of Zayed, Louvre Abu Dhabi honours his legacy and our programming draws inspiration from his deeply-held belief in tolerance, diversity and cultural exchange.”

Catherine Monlouis Félicité, Education and Cultural Engagement Director at Louvre Abu Dhabi, said: “Louvre Abu Dhabi’s exciting line up of events for the first half of 2018 will appeal to adults and families alike. Visitors can travel the world through music, dance, poetry, puppetry, discussion and visual arts, with performers from countries including the UAE, Indonesia, India, Korea and South Africa. The events complement Louvre Abu Dhabi’s collection, and within the setting of the museum’s spectacular architecture, makes for a truly unique experience.”

On 15-17 March, a puppet show presented by Korean theatre company Thebefu in the museum’s auditorium is a splendid outing for children and families. The show will tell the story of a tree and a boy as they go through the natural phases of life.

Outdoor performances will proceed with Shantala Shivalingappa, also collaborating with world renowned cellist Sonia Wider-Atherton (30-31 March). Shantala will return (5-6 April) with Swayambhu, a recital of five pieces, dedicated to five different stories-characters-energies from Hindu mythology. Dynamic dances by South African band Via Sophiatown will combines step-dancing, hip-hop accompanied by three live jazz musicians (19 – 21 April). Concluding the season on 2-3 May is a concert of popular Arab throwback music with a modern twist by Lebanese hip-hop enthusiast Rayess Bek and visual artist La Mirza in Love and Revenge. One mixes Arab popular songs while the other puts into movement extracts of Cairo golden age studios.

The series of ongoing talks held in the museum’s auditorium continues with a discussion on 21 February around the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan’s poetry related to human civilization and peace as part of the celebrations for the Year of Zayed (2018). The museum also offers a new tour UAE Inspired which begins with an art work by Guiseppe Penone that has the fingerprint of Sheikh Zayed at its center, and concludes by exploring artworks with links to the UAE throughout the museum. On 18 April, Louvre Abu Dhabi will present Pioneering Modernism: Ibrahim El-Salahi in conversation with Guggenheim Abu Dhabi moderated by Maisa Al Qassimi, Programs Manager of Guggenheim Abu Dhabi. The artist’s work, which sits in the future museum’s collection and is currently on display at Louvre Abu Dhabi’s galleries, highlights the artist’s defining contributions to the history of art as well as his current practice.

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