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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

If you’d like to donate, please click here.

Parking information

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

Twilight of the Empress is a multimedia mythological musical convergence of 3 artists and a mythologist – Banafsheh Sayyad, Fared Shafinury, Shila Ommi and Maryam Sayyad – bringing to the stage the ancient crafts of storytelling, poetry, music, and dance. 

Depicting the eternal battle between light and darkness, as mirrored in the world and within ourselves, Twilight of the Empress takes us on an inner journey where we can begin to witness, understand, and ultimately heal ourselves and our polarized world, and thereby, step into being agents of healing for our precious Mother Earth.

This first iteration of Twilight of the Empress has been possible by a generous grant from Take Action LA. 

Based on Ahmed Hilmi’s “Field of Justice”

Presented by Namah Ensemble

Conceived by 

Banafsheh Sayyad & Maryam Sayyad

Creative Directors 
Banafsheh Sayyad
Fared Shafinury

Adpated for the stage by
Fared Shafinury & Shila Ommi

Co-Writers 
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 | Miles Jay | Naghmeh Sarang | Chloe Pourmorady | 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 an early age, he completed his studies of the Radif with master of classical persian music, Ostad Shoari, Ostad Zolghadr and Ostad Lotfi. He first gained global recognition in 2010 with the release of his first full length 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.

Kourosh Beipour headshot

SPONSORED BY TAKE ACTION LA

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Dance of Oneness® is the dance I had been waiting to do all my life. From a young age I had danced, read watched and followed Isadora Duncan, Martha Graham, Joffery Ballet, Margie Gillis, Gabriel Roth and many more than I can name that moved in a way that spoke to me. Dance of Oneness® is the culmination of all that I had been drawn to in the other dance forms which seemed to be missing the main ingredient. Banafsheh has found the missing thread which is the opening to the Beloved, to truly give yourself in movement to the Divine energy that resides and moves through all of us from the Earth and the Heavens. I felt that for the first time in our dancing. It also reintroduced me to my own body, allowed me to accept my imperfections and for the first time in years swim naked in the ocean. All of this and more.

Janet Sawatsky

Canada

Transformative! Banafsheh skillfully takes us step by step to an experience of dance that brings me deeper into my body, to peace, feeling grounded and open to beauty and to love. Most importantly for me, the process brought me to experience a lovingness toward myself. I appreciate her presence of gentleness and fierce passion, and I’m inspired to bring my best self into my world.

Mary Regis

USA