Press Release - Jungle Book

Indian Dance-Infused Jungle Book Premieres at NWCT for Fertile Ground Festival

Friday, January 16, 2015

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NWCT journeys deep into the heart of the jungle! This original adaptation of Rudyard Kipling’s classic brings to life the story of a child raised in the wild through traditional Indian dance and a dash of “Bollywood!” Created in partnership with Anita Menon’s Anjali School of Dance.

The Jungle Book is a first time collaboration between NWCT’s Artistic Director Sarah Jane Hardy and Menon, whose children have long been part of the NWCT family, taking classes and appearing in productions. Hardy was inspired to reach out after seeing Menon’s 2013 production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, which similarly bridged the world of traditional Indian dance with a classic western story.

NWCT’s The Jungle Book tells its story through a mixture of traditional dialogue, a classical Indian dance form called Bharatanatyam, and a little bit of Bollywood. “In the original story, Mowgli learns the language of the jungle and the various different animals within in it,” says Sarah Jane Hardy. “Here those languages are expressed through dance, with different animals being represented by different forms.”

“Coming from two different worlds of dance training, Sarah Jane and I spent the first few weeks developing a shared vocabulary,” adds Menon. “It became clear that we needed a hybrid style of movement that would be influenced by both Bharatanatyam and Western physical theater.”

The Jungle Book is NWCT’s entry in this year’s Fertile Ground Festival, an 11-day arts festival (Jan. 22-Feb. 1). This Portland festival is focused on new work in the Arts and features world premiere projects, staged readings, developing works and a myriad of other arts events.

The Jungle Book will also feature NWCT’s second Sensory Friendly Performance. Featuring shorter run-times, no intermission, reduced or removed lighting and sound cues, and the constant presence of house lights, these performances are specially designed for children on the autism spectrum or with other sensory sensitivities. Based heavily on work done by the Kennedy Center, these performances are accompanied by a unique Social Story to help guide families through the entire theater experience from parking lot to the final bows. NWCT’s 2014-15 Season features two Sensory Friendly Performances free of charge (one for The Jungle Book and one for The Little Mermaid) thanks to generous funding from The Oregon Cultural Trust and Umpqua Bank.

The Jungle Book is produced in part through the support of the Collins Foundation, Regional Arts and Culture Council and Work for Art, Kafoury & McDougal, K12 Oregon Virtual Academy, Schwabe, Williamson, & Wyatt, the Oregon Arts Commission, and NWCT Donor Circle Members. More than 5,000 school children will learn the ways of the jungle alongside Mowgli and friends during twelve student matinee performances. Saturday audiences can enjoy delicious treats from the recently re-opened Saint Cupcake!


Online sales available at

WHEN: January 31 - March 1, 2015

SHOW TIMES: See website

WHERE: NW Neighborhood Cultural Center • 1819 NW Everett Street, Portland • Participants pick up their event programs and start tour here.

TICKETS: 503-222-4480 or online at

INFO: 503-222-4480 or


Release Date: January 16, 2015

Kill Date: March 1, 2015

Media Contact: To set up interviews or discuss other possibilities for feature stories, please contact: Marri-Beth Serritella, Sucha Production, Inc. at 503-528-1370 or




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