The 10th edition of the Abu Dhabi Festival kicks off March 3, welcoming musicians, performers and artists from all over the world to join in on what has grown into one of the most prominent arts festivals in the Arab world. The four-week extravaganza is comprised of several different parts, ranging from community experiences held throughout the United Arab Emirates to performances by the world-famous Mariinsky Ballet & Orchestra.
The majority of the events during the Abu Dhabi Festival take place in the luxurious city itself, but some are held in Dubai, Al Gharbia and Al Ain, as well. The Community portion of the festival (March 5-29) offers free informative and entertaining experiences, such as The Story Mile along the Abu Dhabi Corniche, exhibiting new Emirati tales and historical characters, throughout the UAE. There’s also an Education section (March 3-April 1) that provides complimentary events but are geared more toward learning — such as the Festival Debates series that features thinkers, diplomats and cultural leaders. But the big lure of the Abu Dhabi Festival is its Main program (March 3-31), which is chock-full of performances, art exhibits and concerts.
Between March 3 and March 31, there are some can’t-miss events — here are a few that we’ve got our eye on:
Mariinsky Ballet & Orchestra’s Homage to Fokine
Known as one of the greatest ballet companies in the world, St. Petersburg, Russia’s Mariinsky Ballet makes its UAE debut with a collection of one-act ballets by the late groundbreaking Russian choreographer Mikhail Fokine. The entire performance pays homage to the man who staged more than 70 ballets in Europe and the U.S. Emirates Palace Auditorium, March 14-15, 8 p.m., Tickets AED 150-AED 350 ($40-$95).
25 Years of Arab Creativity
The Abu Dhabi Festival partners with the Paris-based Institut du Monde Arabe to showcase the group’s most exhaustive display of contemporary Arab art to date. In its Arab world premiere, Institut du Monde Arabe exhibits painting, sculpture, photography and video. This year marks the group’s 25th anniversary. The Gallery at Emirates Palace, March 5-31, Free admission.
Gilberto Gil: A Taste of Brazil
For the first time in the United Arab Emirates, Brazil’s Gilberto Gil will no doubt give an uncanny performance. The Grammy Award-winning singer is a UNESCO Artist for Peace and is often credited with modernizing Brazil’s music scene. Joining Gil onstage is Egyptian vocalist Dina El Wedidi, whom Gil is mentoring under The Rolex Mentor and Protégé Arts Initiative. Emirates Palace Auditorium, March 23, 8 p.m., Tickets AED 125-AED 350 ($34-$95).
Photo Courtesy of iStock-Dave Everitt