Washington, DC . An Edwardian-themed evening on February 19th will celebrate the Silk Road expeditions of Swedish explorer, Sven Hedin, accompanied by Persian and Central Asian dance performances.

On February 19th, theatre goers will have the opportunity to travel back in time to celebrate the spirit of exploration along the Silk Road. Set in the Edwardian age, the evening at the Arts Club of Washington features a “guest appearance” by the famous Swedish explorer Sven Hedin who will share accounts of his most exciting adventures. Woven throughout the evening will be traditional dance performances by Silk Road Dance Company from the very places Hedin visited, such as Baku, Tehran, and Samarkand.

Known as “the œlast of the great explorers,”Sven Hedin made five journeys to Silk Road regions, including Persia and Central Asia – between 1885 and 1908. He was a prolific writer whose exciting travel accounts captured the public imagination and increased Western awareness of many places, like the Taklamakan desert, that had earlier been just a “white space” on the map.

Baltimore-based actor Sean Coe will portray the man who was the last Swede to be raised to the nobility in recognition of his scientific contributions. Performances by Silk Road Dance Company in beautifully costumed dances will enhance the ethnographic aspect of Hedin’s explorations..

Guests at the concert will be greeted with live Afghan music performed by Tabla for Two, a talented duo that draws upon Central Asian musical traditions. Those who attend the soiree are encouraged, but not required, to dress for the event in their best Edwardian attire – think Downton Abbey – or in traditional Silk Road styles. Another option is to pose for pictures in costumes from the Silk Road photo corner.

The term “Silk Road”  – or seidenstrasse – was originally coined by German geographer Ferdinand von Richthofen, who recognized the economic and cultural significance of the ancient trade routes. His student, Sven Hedin, extensively explored and mapped vast expanses of the Silk Road. Although Hedin’s primary contributions were in the geosciences, his accurate sketches and photographs of the people he met, as well as detailed written accounts, have proven to be ethnographic treasures.

Event organizer, Dr. Laurel Victoria Gray, the Artistic Director of Silk Road Dance Company, planned the evening to coincide with the 150th jubilee of the Swedish explorer who was born in Stockholm on February 19, 1865.  “There seems to be a renewed interest in Hedin’s scientific contributions,” she notes. “Thanks to funding from the National Geographic Society, the Sven Hedin Project has launched expeditions following in the footsteps of Sven Hedin. And the term Silk Road has become quite popular, from Yo-Yo Ma’s Silk Road Project to the US State Department’™s New Silk Road Initiative. It may be time for a new generation to discover the individual who devoted so much of his life to exploring the region.”

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MORE INFORMATION
Silk Road Dance Company   www.silkroaddance.com    A Joy of Motion Resident Arts Partner
Tabla for Two                          www.tablafortwo.com
Sven Hedin                             http://www.iranicaonline.org/articles/hedin-sven

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