Until the Lions

World Premiere: 12 January 2016, Roundhouse, London
Last performance: 28 July 2019, Zoumbouleio Megaro, Kalamata

“As in many myths, the female characters are often the unsung heroes, the figures of strength and imagination and endurance. It is their unsung stories in particular that still haunt me today.”
– Akram Khan

In this partial adaptation of poet Karthika Naïr’s award-winning book Until the Lions: Echoes from the Mahabharata, an original reworking of the epic Mahabharata, Akram Khan uses kathak and contemporary dance to tell the tale of Amba, a princess abducted on her wedding day and stripped of her honour, who invokes the gods to seek revenge.

In an epic theatrical piece, Khan explores the notion and the physical expression of gender, bringing together some of the stellar artistic team behind his solo DESH: writer Karthika Naïr, visual artist Tim Yip, lighting designer Michael Hulls and dramaturg Ruth Little.

The three remarkable dancers, Rianto, Ching-Ying Chien and Joy Alpuerto Ritter, performed alongside four live musicians: singers Sohini Alam and David Azurza, percussionist Yaron Engler and musician Joseph Ashwin.

Ching-Ying Chien was the 2016 National Dance Award winner for Outstanding Female Performance (Modern).

Until the Lions

Production Trailer | 2019

In January 2019, Akram returned to the Roundhouse, London to perform his final six shows as Bheeshma. The production was performed once more in the stunning 360-degree stage it was created for.


Director/Choreographer Akram Khan

Narrative Concept/Scenario/Text Karthika Naïr
Visual Design Tim Yip
Lighting Design Michael Hulls
Original Music Score composed by Vincenzo Lamagna, in collaboration with Sohini Alam, David Azurza, Yaron Engler, Akram Khan, Joy Alpuerto Ritter

Dramaturg Ruth Little
Assistant Director Sasha Milavic Davies
Assistant Choreographer Jose Agudo
Voice-over Kathryn Hunter

Dancers Ching-Ying Chien, Joy Alpuerto Ritter, Rianto
Musicians Sohini Alam, Joseph Ashwin, David Azurza, Yaron Engler

See more



Until the Lions | 2017

Production Trailer


Until the Lions | Creation Process

Photos by Jean-Louis Fernandez | Text by Ruth Little and Karthika Naïr | Sadler's Wells, London (May 2015) and Curve, Leicester (July - August 2015)

"The incandescent production transcends narrative in depicting with emotional clarity a world of core values - a world where love, loyalty, betrayal, and regret play out starkly"

- Judith Flanders


The Times Review “Silent Warriors Reborn”

A literary supplement written for The Times by Judith Flanders reviewing Until the Lions in 2016.

"An incredible performer of intense focus and magnetism"

- Lyndsey Winship


Until the Lions | Interview | Evening Standard

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