Submitted by Andy Perez
Many Americans associate political turmoil with the Middle East at the expense of recognizing the rich culture that thrives in the hot desert. So when Lebanon’s famed Caracalla Dance Theatre and the Abu Dhabi Authority for Culture and Heritage partnered to bring Zayed and the Dream to UCLA’s Royce Hall this weekend, Americans had better listen up.
Zayed tells the legendary story of the founding of the United Arab Emirates and the evolution of cultural pride, unity and progress on the Arabian Peninsula. The colorful spectacle is told through Caracalla’s signature infusion of a modern dance and traditional Arab movement as well as music, poetry, native costumes and sweeping cinematic sets reminiscent of Lawrence of Arabia. Seven horsemen, who represent the virtues of wisdom, courage, justice, faith, righteousness, honor and patience, embark on a desert journey to find the one who will engrave his vision on the Arab world.
“Zayed is one of those bigger-than-life characters seen on stage, like Othello or Willy Loman,” director Ivan Caracalla explains. “History will show that Zayed will be among the men that will be talked about for generations to come.”
The late Zayed bin Sultan al-Nahyan’s legacy is that of a unifier. He brought fractious tribes together, aided the Bedouins and promoted women’s rights before his death in 2004.
Founded in 1970 in Beirut, the Caracalla troupe literally dodged bombs amidst the chaos of civil war to eventually become the cultural image of Lebanon and the Arab world.
Zayed and the Dream will be at UCLA’s Royce Hall on Saturday at 8 p.m. and Sunday at 3:30 p.m. Tickets are $30, $45, $65 and $85 and are available through Ticketmaster or the UCLA Central Ticket Office at (310) 825-2101. Learn more at www.caracalladance.com.