Even while fighting a summertime cold, Achinta S. McDaniel bubbles with excitement when talking about her new production, KHEL! A Bollywood Bedtime Story. “My inspiration (in creating the show) was the drama and the fun and the silliness coming out of Bollywood,” says the artistic director who grew up watching Hindi films. “The storyline comes from Bollywood and storytelling. But the show also has a ton of technique; it’s very diverse,” she says, alluding to the different genres of dance incorporated in the production, such as a fan dance. McDaniel, who is the lead choreographer of the show, says she was also inspired by The Wizard of Oz, Salman Rushdie, and Monsters, Inc.
KHEL! A Bollywood Bedtime Story is a blue13 dance company production described in its press release as “a whirling, dance-fueled romp through an Eastern phantasmagoria of games, bedtime stories and fantastical characters that collide and come to life.” The story revolves around “the threat of nightmare; the children have to band together and figure out how to save the world,” McDaniel says. A completely original score composed by Tej Gill, a Los Angeles-area DJ, accompanies the dance troupe.
While the show is about childhood dreams and nightmares, McDaniel says it appeals to all ages. “Our audience is primarily college students,” she says.
Prior to the show will be a “Bollywood Pajama Party” in the theater’s courtyard featuring games, vendors, and musicians, and a costume contest for attendees wearing their jammies. After the performance, DJ Rekha will be hosting a party at West Hollywood’s The Roxy Theatre for theatergoers 21 and over. KHEL! ticket holders will receive a discounted cover charge.
As if the pajama party and contest, after party, and production weren’t enough, the event will also include a filmmaking team that will be shooting for an upcoming documentary on blue13’s work. The dance group’s mission is to dispel stereotypes and connect through cross-genre and multicultural classes and performances.
McDaniel hopes KHEL!’s opening night will be a kick-off to a national tour with stops in San Francisco, Denver and New York. The premiere is expected to sell out, she says.
Saturday, Aug. 23, 8 p.m. The John Anson Ford Amphitheatre, 2580 Cahuenga Blvd. East, Hollywood. $28, $35 general; $5 students, children. Grounds open at 6 p.m. for party. Tickets: (323) 461-3673, www.fordtheatres.org. Information: (818) 784-7027, www.blue13dance.org.