Axelrod Contemporary Ballet Theater to premiere inventive new ‘Jungle Book’

Jungle Book Axelrod

The Axelrod Contemporary Ballet Theater’s world premiere of “The Jungle Book” features headpieces designed by Tentacle Studios, whose clients include Lady Gaga, Kesha and The Royal Ballet.

The new Axelrod Contemporary Ballet Theater will launch its first full season with an innovative “East meets West” take on Rudyard Kipling’s classic tale of a boy raised in the wild, “The Jungle Book.” Shows are scheduled for Feb. 2 and 9 at 8 p.m., Feb. 3 at 3 p.m. and Feb. 10 at 1 and 5 p.m. at the Axelrod Performing Arts Center in Deal.

Some of the masks that will be used in “The Jungle Book.”

This production will feature original music by composer and sitar player Neel Murgai in addition to classical and folk music, and the form of classical Indian dance known as Bharatanatyam as well as contemporary contemporary ballet. Murgai and tabla player Shivalik Goshal, who are both members of the Brooklyn Raga Massive, with perform onstage, and music director Jason Tramm is arranging the score and will lead a small ensemble of string players. Axelrod Contemporary Ballet Theater artistic director Gabriel Chajnik and Sudha Shekhar Devulapalli, founder of the Kalanjali School of Dance, are working on the choreography together.

“This is the first time an American ballet company has produced an Indian-based story and featured traditional choreography,” said Devulapalli, in a press release. “Meshing south Indian classical and folk-dance elements with contemporary ballet is an exciting development in the world of dance and encourages greater cultural diversity.”

Costumes are by José Solis, and the masks and headpieces have been designed by Tentacle Studios, whose clients include Lady Gaga, Kesha, and The Royal Ballet.

Also in Axelrod Contemporary Ballet Theater’s first season will be “Alice in Wonderland,” a contemporary ballet based on the Lewis Carroll classic, Aug. 25 and 27-29; and “The Nutcracker Rocks,” a new version of the holiday season favorite featuring a rock interpretation of the score (created in collaboration with Alex Levine, bassist for the band The Gaslight Anthem), Dec. 20-22 and 27-29.

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