Reorient the Orient

Lionel Popkin
Past event


Part performance event, durational installation, and social agitation, Reorient the Orient is renowned choreographer and performer Lionel Popkin’s response to the dubious history of interculturalism. Seeking to expand the discourse on how brown South Asian bodies inhabit contemporary art and performance spaces, Popkin draws from his nearly 30-year archive of dance-making. In REDCAT’s theater and gallery, dancers, videos, archival materials, rugs, sculptures, neon yellow wiffle balls, and the headpiece from an elephant costume invite audiences to make their way, choosing where to be and what to see.


Performance tickets include access to the Reorient the Orient installation in the theater and gallery, on view from 2 PM to 10 PM. Performance times are 3 PM and 7:30 PM.

…as farcical as it is dead serious…

Siobhan Burke, The New York Times

Reorient the Orient is the recipient of a National Performance Network (NPN) commission with REDCAT in Los Angeles as the lead commissioner and Dance Place in DC as a co-commissioner. Additional funds come from the UCLA Council on Research, The UCLA Chancellor’s Arts Initiative, the National Performance Network’s Storytelling and Documentation Fund, and the Mellon Foundation.

about the artist

Lionel Popkin

Lionel Popkin was born and raised in Bloomington, Indiana, by an Indian mother and a Jewish father. His work engages people, objects, and media to explore issues of hybridity, archival practices, historical inequities, and the confusions surrounding the representations of the South Asian diaspora in North America. His work has been presented on four continents at venues, including Danspace Project and Abrons Arts Center in New York, the Skirball Cultural Center and the Getty Cente in Los Angeles, The Palace Theatre in London, the Guangdong Dance Festival in Guangzhou, China, and the São Carlos Videodan Festival in Brazil. He performed as a dancer in the companies of Trisha Brown, Terry Creach, and Stephanie Skura. He has been commissioned by San Diego’s Lower Left Performance Collective, the Li Chiao-Ping Dance Company, Nejla Yatkin, and Carolyn Hall. Popkin is a teacher of Skinner Releasing Technique, a professor of Choreography at UCLA, the associate dean of Academic Affairs in the School of the Arts and Architecture at UCLA, and a resident artist at the 18th Street Arts Center. In January, Popkin was named interim dean of UCLA School of the Arts and Architecture.

Instagram / Facebook / Website

cast & creative team

Performed by Jay Carlon, Lionel Popkin, Arushi Singh, and Wilfried Souly

Original Sound by Tom Lopez

Video Design by Meena Murugesan

Lighting Design by Christopher Kuhl

Costume Design and Visual Consultation by Marcus Kuiland Nazario

Artist and Archive Consultation by Cori Olinghouse