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Twilight of the Empress

Banafsheh Sayyad

Fared Shafinury

Shila
Ommi

When?

Wednesday, May 15, 2024

Arrival: 6pm / Doors open at 7pm

Where?

Plaza Del Sol Performance Hall

18111 Nordhoff St, Northridge, CA 91330

Suggested Donation: $30

Parking information

Performance attendees are invited to a day of interactive workshops on May 19

Twilight of the Empress is based on “The Field of Justice.” Written by Ahmet Hilmi in 19th century Turkey, this short story recounts the myth of Zarathustra, Hormuz, Ahriman, and the ongoing struggle between light and dark through a unifying Sufi lens — thus bridging two of the most significant moments in the mythos of Iran.

In Twilight of the Empress, the eternally recurring drama between light and dark is brought to life through contemporary Iranian dance set to original live music, and the ancient art of storytelling.

Banafsheh became aware of Ahmet Hilmi through her friendship with his student, the late Sufi Sheikh Oruc Guvenc, during a 40 day whirling ceremony at the Mutlu Baba Dargah in Turkey.

Based on Ahmet Hilmi’s “Field of Justice”

Presented by Namah Ensemble

Conceived by two sisters: 

Banafsheh Sayyad & Maryam Sayyad

Creative Directors 
Banafsheh Sayyad
Fared Shafinury

Playwright
Fared Shafinury

Co-Writers 
Shila Ommi | Maryam Sayyad | Banafsheh Sayyad

Choreography 
Banafsheh Sayyad

Musical Composition & Arrangement 
Fared Shafinury

Narration 
Shila Ommi

Executive Producer
Maryam Sayyad

Dancers
Banafsheh Sayyad | Neaz Kohani | Patty Choi | Kacey Jacobs | Kaitie Richman | Cedric Sanders | Aaron Gilliam

Musicians
Fared Shafinury | Rambod Dargahi | Naghmeh Sarang | Chloe Pourmorady | Miles Jay | Moshir Safavi | Shila Ommi

Film 
Hitoshi Inoue

Graphic Designer
Kourosh Beigpour

Banafsheh Sayyad

Iranian sacred dancer, choreographer, teacher, activist, and founder of Dance of Oneness®, Banafsheh Sayyad performs and teaches her award-winning work internationally, initiating people into the wisdom of their bodies. With a Masters of Fine Arts in Dance and Choreography from UCLA and a Masters in Chinese Medicine, she is dedicated to individual and collective healing through conscious dance and movement. Read more about Banafsheh.

Fared Shafinury

Fared Shafinury is a renowned contemporary Iranian-American artist, singer/songwriter, composer, multi-instrumentalist, lyricist, setâr virtuoso, and educator. Starting his music career at the age of 11, he studied Radif music with master musicians, Ostad Shoari, Ostad Zolghadr and Ostad Lotfi. He first gained global recognition for innovation and authenticity in 2010 with the release of his album, Behind the Seas. Fared is the director of the Radif Retreat Institute of Classical Persian music, an online school and database for music theory. Read more about Fared.

Shila Ommi

Shila Vosough Ommi is an Iranian born actor/director. She plays leading roles on Apple TV’s Tehran, Netflix’ KAOS, and Disney/Pixar’s Oscar nominated feature, Elemental. She has directed and produced award winning plays in Los Angeles, and toured internationally for over a decade performing plays for Iranians in exile. Shila directed the feature film, Wake up Sleeping Beauty, produced by the Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health in association with Cross Cultural Expressions. Read more about Shila.

Hitoshi Inoue

Japanese born Hitoshi Inoue is an award winning visual effects artist, cinematographer, and editor. He has worked with James Cameron on Titanic, Cameron Crowe on Jerry Maguire, Barry Sonnenfeld on Men in Black, and Paul Verhoeven in Starship Troopers. Hitoshi has won several awards for his visual effects and editing on the film, Wake Up Sleeping Beauty that he co-created with Shila Ommi. He is also an independent filmmaker and director with several projects in pre-production.

Maryam Sayyad

With a PhD in Mythological Studies, Maryam researches, writes, lectures, and creates theatrical and academic events centering on mythology and meaning. She is the co-founder of Kosmos Institute of Mythology Esotericism & Archetypes (KIMEA), Director of Art and Education at Cross Cultural Expressions (CCE), and Event Director for Namah Ensemble Inc. Maryam is a 2024 Contributing Scholar at the Philosophical Research Society where she organized and hosted the first Mythos of Iran Conference in May 2023. Read more about Maryam.

Kourosh Beipour

Kourosh Beigpour is an LA-based award-winning graphic artist and type designer. He received his BFA from the Tehran University of Art, one of Asia’s oldest and most prestigious art schools, and an MFA in International Contemporary Art and Design from Limkokwing University. Kourosh has designed for a wide range of clientele including Google, The Broad, Getty and Powerhouse Museums, Canada Type, UCI, UCLA, NEIU, and OSU. LACMA acquired 6 limited edition silk screens from Kourosh’s Mandal Series earlier this year. Read more about Kourosh.

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