Arts & Leisure

ANIKAYA Dance comes to Mahaney Arts Center

Next up on the Middlebury Performing Arts Series is the multi-national dance company ANIKAYA, presenting their powerful work Conference of the Birds March 11-12 at the Mahaney Arts Center.

“Conference of the Birds” is an evening-length, multi-media movement theater work inspired by the epic poem of 12th-century Persian poet Farid Ud din Attar. Attar’s tale follows a group of birds that set off in search of a mythical being, the Simurgh. Many of the birds abandon the quest. When the remaining birds arrive in the land of the Simurgh, they find themselves reflected — they are the very deity they seek.

Created by a team of artists from ten countries and five continents, “Conference of the Birds” takes Attar’s original poem and tells a story of our times through it — a tale of migration, of finding our way, of finding community through our struggles. The performance asks a question that is both timely and timeless: how can we be different together? And it proposes an answer in the bodies of the dancers, and in the layering of voices, narratives and imagery.

This live, in-person event is open to audiences from both on- and off-campus. 

About the Artists

ANIKAYA Dance Theater is a multi-national, artist-run organization with a mission to break down the perceived boundaries between people, cultures, and art forms. The company weaves together music, dance, visual art, new media and storytelling to create work that resounds of deep-rooted traditions, without being bound to any one genre, place, or practice. ANIKAYA’s work seeks to break down boundaries through an embodied practice of radical empathy.

ANIKAYA’s projects are created by and for people of all genders and gender presentations, people of color from the U.S. and around the world, LGBTQIA people, and people who create in bodies that are socially constructed as disabled.

Led by choreographer Wendy Jehlen since 1998, ANIKAYA has performed in the U.S., Benin, Brazil, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Canada, Haiti, India, Italy, Japan, Korea, Mali and Turkey.

See ANIKAYA perform “Conference of the Birds” live at the Mahaney Arts Center’s Dance Theatre on Friday, March 11 and Saturday, March 12, at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $25 for the general public, $20 for Middlebury faculty/staff and alumni, $10 for youth, and $5 for Middlebury College students. Vaccinations and boosters (or valid medical or religious exemptions) and masks are required. For tickets, health and safety protocols, and information, call (802) 443-MIDD (6433) or visit

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