Esplanade Presents | da:ns festival


Until the Lions

Akram Khan Company (UK)
1hr (no intermission)
Esplanade Theatre
There will be a post-show talk for the show on 9 Oct, Tue.
This event is over

$40*, $60^, $80^#

Limited concessions for students, NSFs and seniors: $25*

#Centrestage + Shift Special

Add $15 to purchase a ticket to one of the Shift shows (Invisible Habitudes, Medium, AH | HA, xhe) at da:ns festival (U.P. $20 – $30)

Esplanade&Me Special not applicable


^Esplanade&Me Special

White Card: 10% savings
Black Card: 15% savings

School Special: $15

For school bookings of 20 or more student tickets. Limited tickets available. Applicable to all local schools. For details and school bookings, please contact Esplanade Box Office at 6828 8389 or email:

Tote Board Arts Grant

All Primary Schools (Upper Pri), Secondary Schools, Junior Colleges / Centralised Institute & ITEs may use the Tote Board Arts Grant to subsidise up to 50% of the programme cost.

For more details, please contact Esplanade Box Office at 6828 8389 or email

More details +

“lean, trilling and beautiful” The Guardian
“A sinister, magical dance epic” Timeout
“This is a little firecracker of a show, one that really stays with you and grows in the memory.” The Telegraph

“As in many myths, the female characters are often the unsung heroes, the figures of strength and imagination and endurance. It is their unsung stories in particular that still haunt me today.” – Akram Khan

Firmly established as one of the world’s most important choreographers, Akram Khan returns to the Esplanade with a production inspired by the female characters from the adaptation of poet Karthika Naïr’s book Until the Lions: Echoes from the Mahabharata, an original reworking of the 2,500-year-old Indian epic. The work centres on the warrior Bheeshma who abducts the princess Amba on her wedding day. Amba vows vengeance, kills herself, and is reborn as Shikhandi, a woman later given male form by a forest spirit, and who finally defeats Bheeshma on the battlefield—the culmination of two lifetimes of devotion through wrath.

With this show, Khan comes full circle with the Mahabharata since he performed in the late British theatre doyen Peter Brooks’ iconic adaptation of the story when he was a teenager. This time, his interest is in exploring strength and vengeance. The production features Khan’s trademark style of intelligently crafted storytelling, which marries contemporary dance, kathak, and live music.

Three exceptional dancers, Rianto (Indonesia), Ching-Ying Chien (Taiwan) and Joy Alpuerto Ritter (Philippines), perform on a set designed by award-winning artist Tim Yip from Hong Kong, who won an Oscar for Best Art Direction for Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000). The characters dance on the cross-section of a giant tree trunk while surrounded by live musicians and powerful vocalists, and embody Khan’s signature choreography, which combines flexibility, precision, speed, slowness, fluidity and absolute presence.

Read now | Akram Khan: realising spirituality in motion

Articulating the formless within the form – insights into Khan's creative practice, drawn from Esplanade's archives. Read now

About Akram Khan
Akram Khan is firmly established as one of the world’s most important choreographers. In nearly two decades, he has created a body of work that has garnered numerous accolades, including the Laurence Olivier Award and the Bessie Award (New York Dance and Performance Award). A highlight of his career was the creation of a section of the London 2012 Olympic Games Opening Ceremony that was received with unanimous acclaim.

An instinctive and natural collaborator, Khan has been a magnet for world-class artists from other cultures and disciplines. His previous collaborators include the National Ballet of China, actress Juliette Binoche, ballerina Sylvie Guillem and visual artist Anish Kapoor.

His company Akram Kham Company is now one of the foremost innovative dance companies in the world. Khan has been described by the Financial Times as an artist “who speaks tremendously of tremendous things”.

Co-produced by Roundhouse/Sadler’s Wells London, MC2: Grenoble, La Comète Châlons-en- Champagne, Théâtre de la Ville/La Villette Paris, Danse Danse/TOHU Montréal, Les Théâtres de la Ville de Luxembourg, New Vision Arts Festival Hong Kong, Taipei Performing Arts Center, Movimentos Festwochen der Autostadt in Wolfsburg, Brighton Festival 2016, Maison de la Culture d'Amiens, Concertgebouw Brugge, manège, scène nationale – reims, Holland Festival Amsterdam, Romaeuropa Festival, Curve Leicester
Created with sponsorship by COLAS
Created with generous support from The Quercus Trust
Supported by Arts Council England

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Things To Note

Admission for ages 6 and above, unless otherwise stated.

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