Category: Silk Road Dance Company


Kizlarkhon Dusmukhamedova (r) and Laurel Victoria Gray


Kizlarkhon Dusmukhamedova, People’s Artist of Uzbekistan, is a world class dance artist who has visited the US fifteen times since 1979. Silk Road Dance Company is honored that Kizlarkhon is our Central Asian Dance Consultant and that she hasplayed such an active role in the development of our ensemble.

Silk Road Dance Company is located in the Washington DC area. We have cultivated a genuine and successful cultural exchange with Uzbekistan as well as other Central Asian and Middle Eastern cultures.

The origin of our Uzbek relationship dates back to the Soviet era when, in 1979, as a doctorial candidate in Russian and Soviet History at the University of Washington, our Artistic Director – Laurel Victoria Gray – volunteered to translate for a group of touring artists from Uzbekistan. (She had been to Uzbekistan as a teenager in 1973. ) That is when she first met the exceptional, superlative Uzbek dance artist, Kizlarkhon Dusmukhamedova, and began a lifelong exploration of Central Asian dance culture.

The details of meeting between Laurel Victoria Gray and Kizlarkhon Dusmukhamedova and their subsequent friendship can be found at http://laurelvictoriagray.com/bio.htm

Seattle and Tashkent became sister-cities in 1973. In fact, they were the very first Soviet-American sister cities. Many fledgling cultural exchanges between the US and the USSR were first launched through this historic relationship. Laurel became active in this committee and participated in numerous cultural exchanges, including Mayor Royer’s 1984 trip to Tashkent.

Thanks to the Seattle-Tashkent Sister City Committee, Kizlarkhon returned to Seattle in 1982 with an official delegation from Tashkent and worked with Laurel and her dancers. Laurel continued to work on Soviet-American cultural exchange, inviting Kizlarkhon and other Uzbek artists to the US in 1989 and 1990.

This non-currency cultural exchange blossomed into the historic Seattle Soviet Theatre Arts Exchange, in which 30 theatre artists traveled to Uzbekistan and had home stays in Tashkent while presenting several concerts throughout the city, including performances at the lkhom Theatre.

This cultural exchange was the topic of Laurel’s 2009 Fulbright Association Selma Jeanne Cohen Lecture. Photos of this historic exchange – including pictures of Kizlarkhon – can be viewed at this link:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tYbtFKGpDY0 )

Through Kizlarkhon’s generous spirit, Laurel was the first American to seriously study and perform Uzbek dance. She was invited to Uzbekistan many times to continue her dance studies and lived there for two years in 1992 and 1993. In order to share what she had learned and keep this precious legacy alive, Laurel has trained many dancers — both in the US and abroad –and, after moving to DC, created the Silk Road Dance Company in 1995.

With a colleague, Travis Jarrell, Laurel founded the Central Asian Dance Camp in 1995. They began by teaching the first classes themselves. Then in 1998, Laurel began inviting Kizlarkhon to the US to share her knowledge directly with a new generation of American dancers.

Now that Laurel lives in the DC area, she has been instrumental in inviting Kizlarkhon almost every year to come to the US to teach and perform for a small but dedicated group of Americans who are serious about mastering Central Asian dance.

Kizlarkhon embodies a traditional dance style which is rarely seen today but it lives on in her students. She has gifted Silk Road Dance Company with many famous Uzbek dances for our repertoire — Guldasta, Dil Kroch, Kungil Taronasi, Samarkand Ushoqi, Tong Malikasi, Gozel, Katta Oyin, Keling Gular, and many more. Silk Road Dance Company brings these traditional dances to American audiences.

Yes, American women performing Uzbek dances! This is genuine cultural exchange.
And in the spirit of cultural exchange, the Uzbeks have reciprocated. In 2005, Silk Road Dance Company was the first US dance company to be invited to perform at the Samarkand Sharq Taronalari Festival.

Silk Road Dance Company has been instrumental in sharing Uzbek culture with Americans for many years, with performances throughout the Washington DC area, as well as 14 different states, Uzbekistan, Canada, and Qatar. We have also presented programs at the State Department, the Secret Service, the National Defense University and Fort Meade.

Over the years, Silk Road Dance Company has been frequently called upon to perform at the Embassy of Uzbekistan in DC by many different ambassadors. Laurel herself performed for President Karimov when he came to the dedication of the Uzbek Embassy in DC. ( She had also performed in the first two Independence Day celebrations in Tashkent and was the English style editor of Karimov’s first book.)

Last year, in 2010, Ambassador Ilkhom Nematov and his wife attended Silk Road Dance Company’s 15th anniversary concert. Most recently, Silk Road Dance Company the featured dancers at the 20th anniversary celebration of Uzbek independence in DC.

A glimpse of this performance can be seen on the VOA Uzbek Service broadcast. Excerpts begin about 2:00 minutes into the program.
http://www.voanews.com/uzbek/news/central-asia/Uzbek-Embassy-Independence-Day-129160838.html

Silk Road Dance Company is a 501(c)(3) non-profit tax-exempt arts organization. We are dedicated artists who deeply love and appreciate Uzbek traditional culture. We endeavor to honor this legacy in all of our performances.

Silk Road Dance Company is a 501(c)3 exempt tax non-profit organization.
Silk Road Dance Company ® is a Registered Trademark
The contents of this blogpost, including all text and images, are protected and may
not be used without the express written permission of Silk Road Dance Company®.
Copyright 2011 and 2013, Silk Road Dance Company®. All rights reserved.

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The Goddess Nuit and the Dance of the Cosmos

On October 22nd, Silk Road Dance Company performed at an elegant Black Tie Gala held at the Embassy of Egypt and organized by Things to Do DC. The Arabic music ensemble Insijam set the mood with selections of beloved Egyptian songs, including Alf Layla wa Layla and Laylet Hob.

Silk Road Dance Company’s first set included choreographies from EGYPTA: MYTH, MAGIC and MYSTERY, a dance concert with an Ancient Egyptian theme. The opening piece was “Egypt is the Gift of the Nile” and it took place in the Nile with lovely maidens swimming and playing while the hungry crocodile God Sobek stalked them.

Next, temple priestesses led a procession with sistrum to welcome the Goddess Isis, the Lady of Magic. Wearing a stunning costume with wings created from over 200 separate pieces of fabirc, Isis enchanted the audience. The God Horus then carried the solar disc across the heavens and passed it on to the Goddess Nuit who, according to Egyptian mythology, swallowed it only to give birth to the sun anew each morning. In the night sky, Nuit danced with the the stars of the evening.

The second set featured Egyptian folkloric dances from the Saiid. Wearing traditional dresses and jewelry purchased in Egypt, Silk Road Dance Company presented the playful and buoyant dances of Upper Egypt. The performance ended with a dramatic and stirring solo man’s dance called “tahtib” by guest artist Ahmad Maaty.

For 16 years, Silk Road Dance Company has depended on our performance income to cover our operating expenses. Now we need your support to continue our work of promoting “Cultural Understanding through Beauty and Delight.” We are a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, so your generous contribution toward our $10,000 goal is tax deductable.

How to contribute? It’s easy!
Just go to our official website site and click on the donate button onour Hompage or at the foot ove every page – http://www.silkroaddance.com

SILK ROAD DANCE COMPANY: Our Artistic Mission
Silk Road Dance Company (SRDC), initiated in 1995 by Dr. Laurel Victoria Gray, is dedicated to the preservation, promulgation, and evolution of women’s endangered dance forms, traditions, and costumes from cultures along the Great Silk Road trade route linking China with the Mediterranean.

Through concerts, lecture-demonstrations, and master classes, Silk Road Dance Company promotes knowledge and appreciation of traditional dance forms of Eastern cultures by educating, entertaining, and engaging the general public. SRDC
builds bridges of understanding between East and West by nourishing traditional dance forms, encouraging cross-cultural dialogue, and collaborating with other World Dance artists.

Warm smiles, lively dances, and colorful costumes brightened the grey skies at the 2011 Turkish fesitval in DC. Guest Artists included an energetic group of young dancers from Ankara, Turkey, who presented traditional folk dances.

Excerpts from Silk Road Dance Company’s Kazakh and Azerbaijani dances appear on this clip at about 1:10 into the video. Enjoy!

Kurdish Dance Featured in Silk Road Dance Festival


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 12, 2011
CONTACT: Malori Rhones 301-699-1819

SILK ROAD DANCE FESTIVAL
Saturday, November 19, 2011. Dance Workshops from 10 am; Dance Concert at 8 pm
Joe’s Movement Emporium
3309 Bunker Hill Road
Mount Rainier, MD 20712
CONCERT TICKETS: $20 in advance; $25 at door
https://joesmovement.secure.force.com/ticket#details_a0OF0000004F06dMAC
ADULT DANCE WORKSHOPS: $40 in advance: $45 at door
CHILDREN’S DANCE WORKSHOP: $15 in advance; $20 at door.
https://joesmovement.secure.force.com/ticket#sections_a03F0000007wyFFIAY
FACEBOOK: http://www.facebook.com/#!/event.php?eid=191021307638219

SILK ROAD DANCE FESTIVAL CELEBRATES
DIVERSITY OF ASIAN CULTURES

Washington, DC – Exuberant dances, lavish costumes, and ancient traditions will entertain audiences at the Silk Road Dance Festival on November 19, at Joe’s Movement Emporium in Mount Rainier. Inspired by the Silk Road theme of the 2002 Smithsonian Folk Festival, the event focuses on the rich diversity of dance found along the celebrated trade route that connected China with the Mediterranean. Daytime activities include dance workshops for adults and children, a Central Asian style “chaikhona” (teahouse), a lecture on Uzbek traditions and a Silk Road bazaar. The festival culminates in an evening concert at 8 pm featuring guest artists from India, Central Asia, and China along with the award-winning Silk Road Dance Company.

Dance workshops in Uzbek, Azerbaijani, Persian, and Kathak styles will be offered at Joe’s Movement Emporium from November 18th to 20th, as part of the 14th Central Asian Dance Camp. Audiences can enjoy these and other pieces in the Saturday night concert that will highlight the Silk Road Dance Festival. Rare and compelling choreographies of Afghan, Azerbaijani, Chinese, Indian, Kazakh, Persian, Tajik, Turkmen, Uighur and Uzbek origin will provide a glimpse into cultures unfamiliar to most Americans.

Featured artists include Jayantee Paine Ganguly, director of Konark Dance School and Jayantika Dance Company, who will perform classical Indian Kathak dance. The Xuejuan Performance Ensemble, a Chinese dance company directed by Xuejuan Feng – a graduate of the Beijing Dance Academy – will present group and solo pieces. Traditional and classical dances of the Uzbek, Tajik, and Uighur people will be performed by Central Asian guest artists and the award-winning Silk Road Dance Company.

Event organizer Dr. Laurel Victoria Gray feels the Silk Road Dance Festival will foster a deeper understanding of the diverse cultures of Asian peoples. “The Uzbeks have a great folk saying that it is better to see something once than to hear about it a thousand times. Experiencing these dances in a cohesive concert — all performed in colorful, authentic costumes — will help audiences appreciate the vast range of styles and ethnicities of Silk Road cultures.”

Co-presenters of the Silk Road Dance Festival include the Asia Heritage Foundation, the Uzbek Dance and Culture Society, and World Arts Focus.

Silk Road Dance Company is a 501(c)3 exempt tax non-profit organization.
Silk Road Dance Company ® is a Registered Trademark
The contents of this blogpost, including all text and images, are protected and may
not be used without the express written permission of Silk Road Dance Company®.
Copyright 2011 and 2013, Silk Road Dance Company®. All rights reserved.

Azerbaijani Tea Glass Dance performed by Silk Road Dance Company. Photo by Elli Alikhani.


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One of our favorite annual events is Washington DC’s Turkish Festival. Silk Road Dance Company has performed in it since the beginning and over the years we have presented Uzbek, Azerbaijani, Turkmen, and Uighur dances.

This year we presented Azerbaijani and Kazakh dances, and our magical “raks” of the fairyilke creatures known as “Pari.” We were delighted with scores of outstanding photographs taken by audience members and will share a few on our blog.

Silk Road Dance Company is a 501(c)3 exempt tax non-profit organization.
Silk Road Dance Company ® is a Registered Trademark
The contents of this blogpost, including all text and images, are protected and may
not be used without the express written permission of Silk Road Dance Company®.
Copyright 2011 and 2013, Silk Road Dance Company®. All rights reserved.

Silk Road Dance Company presents "Haft Paykar: Seven Beauties"


You can keep up with Silk Road Dance Company’s upcoming concerts, appearances, and workshops by visiting our FACEBOOK page and clicking on the “like” button.

We love hearing from our fans and you can even suggest dances for an upcoming concert.

Every Friday, we salute a special fan who has helped to support our artistic mission. We value your support and encouragement!

See you on FACEBOOK! http://www.facebook.com/#!/silkroaddance

For many years, Washington DC’s Turkish Festival has been a favorite event for Silk Road Dance Company and our fans. This year we perform at 3:30 pm, in between two great bands – Turku and Ishtar. 

The Festival is held on Pennsylvania Avenue between 12th and 14th Streets NW, in front of Freedom Plaza and two blocks from the White House.

The annual Turkish Festival offers a full day of free activities that range from lively folk dancing and musical performances to arts and crafts activities for children and adults. Visitors also enjoy other much-loved aspects of Turkey such as its delicious cuisine, tradition of coffee fortune reading, and bustling Bazaar.

The festival is free, so come and enjoy some new Silk Road Dance Company choreographies and a beloved favorite!