An exploration of the figure of Iblis,
the greatest monotheist, the greatest Lover
a journey in dance, text and music
from the time before time
through his separation from his Beloved
his quest for the same
through to his ecstatic annihilation

“transfixing, calming, and transcendentally mystifying”

​He Who Burns is an exploration through dance, text and music of the figure of Iblis, Satan, as understood in some Sufi traditions. Through this lens, the dance-theater piece explores the nature of humanity’s relationship with the divine, the eternal quest for unity and the illusion of duality in the human experience.

He Who Burns takes our notion of good and evil, the divine and the satanic, and turns it on its head. Staged as a trio, He Who Burns takes us on a journey from the time before time, through the suffering of Iblis in his separation from his Beloved, and his quest for the same, through to his ecstatic annihilation.

The performance at once parallels the Sufi quest, as outlined in the great Sufi text, “Conference of the Birds,” and the structure of the Bharata Natyam performance. The text, from the Persian, Arabic and Urdu of Al-Hallaj, Faiz Ahmed Faiz, Mohammed Iqbal, Al Ghazzali, Hafiz and Maulana Jelaluddin Rumi, is performed in Urdu and English.

Wendy Jehlen
Pradhuman Nayak
Jun Lee
Eun Jung Kim

Lights: Stephen Petrilli

Video art: Wendy Jehlen

Music: Nandlal Nayak