Tag Archive: choreographies


 

by Gordiya Khademian

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On June 5, 2016, Silk Road Dance Company helped represent Iran at the Fiesta Asia street fair in Washington DC. This was the first time Iran has ever been represented at Fiesta Asia, thanks to the hard work of a group of young Iranian-American professionals in the Washington, DC area.

After an initial procession of costumes and banners down Pennsylvania Avenue, representing countries across the continent of Asia, Silk Road Dance Company first performed on the main stage, with the impressive Capitol Building creating a striking image behind them. Their performance, choreographed by Dr. Laurel Gray, consisted of three selections: Spring Rain in the Rose Gardens of Esfahan -a classical-style Persian dance to instrumental music; a Balochi folkloric dance; and a contemporary Persian dance to Moein’s Zendegi ba Toh.

Silk Road Dance Company performed again at the Iran tent for a smaller, more intimate audience. The day was filled with energy and excitement as people learned more about Iran’s diverse culture, dress, music, and dance. It was an honor to be able to share this heritage in our nation’s capital. .

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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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by Miriam Asmerom

On Thursday, May 23, 2013, the city of Takoma Park will screen the film of the folkloric ballet, Haft Paykar: Seven Beauties, performed by Silk Road Dance Company. Created by Takoma Park resident. Laurel Victoria Gray, this dance concert features choreography and costuming inspired by seven different Eastern cultures.

Gray’s work is based on Nizami Ganjavi’s poem Haft Paykar (“seven beauties”) is remembered as one of the great narrative epics of medieval Middle Eastern culture. Although Nizami lived in the city of Ganj – located in present day Azerbaijan – he wrote in Persian, the court language of the day. Haft Paykar is a meditation on the beauty of diversity and humanity’s constant quest for perfection.

The story is a simple one — a young Sassanian prince, Bahrām Gur, discovers a locked room in a Yemeni castle where he has been sent for his upbringing.. Opening it, he finds the walls adorned with the portraits of seven beautiful princesses from distant lands; he immediately falls in love with all of them. Each princess comes from a different country and is associated with a specific color, virtue, planet and day of the week.

After a time, Bahrām’s father dies and Bahrām becomes the King of Persia. Upon assuming his throne, he sends for all of seven princesses, intending to marry each of them. He instructs his architect to build each princess her own “dome” – a residence decorated in her signature color scheme and aligned with her particular planet. The king visits a different princess each day of the week — for example, on Saturday he visits the Indian princess who lives in the Black Dome, on Sunday the Rûm princess of the Yellow Dome, and so on. Each princess regales Bahrām with a story that illustrates the virtue she must impart to the king.. From these stories, Bahrām gains wisdom and self-mastery of different aspects of his character.

While Haft Paykar is an allegory about the necessity, and enlightenmen, that comes from diversity, but 12th century style, when you don’t befriend the “other,” you marry them. The epic poem is also a love letter to the wisdom of women. Bahrām Gur would not have become a great king without the uplifting, inspiring, and moral lessons taught by the princesses. His quest for human perfection is nurtured by the wisdom in their instructive tales. By listening and learning, Bahrām Gur reaches his full potential.

Experience the beauty and the poetry of Haft Paykar at the free screening on Thursday, May 23rd at 7:30 PM at the Takoma Park Auditorium 7500 Maple Avenue in Takoma Park, Maryland. Presented as a “red carpet” event, the film premiere will give guests a chance to meet the dancers and the choreographer. Everyone is encouraged to dress up for the “royal” occasion.

Learn more about this event at https://www.facebook.com/events/554094294630800/?ref=ts&fref=ts

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 2013, Silk Road Dance Company®. All rights reserved.

by Rachel Zappala

Ahmad Maaty and the Silkies perform "Gur Nalo Ishq Mitha" at their "Bollywood Fever: concert, part of the 2013 Intersections Festival.

Ahmad Maaty and the Silkies perform “Gur Nalo Ishq Mitha” at Silk Road Dance Compay’s BOLLYWOOD FEVER concert, part of the 2013 Intersections Festival.

On March 2, 2013, the Silk Road Dance Company (SRDC) graced the stage of the Atlas Performing Arts Center’s Lang Theatre with their Bollywood Fever concert. Part of the annual Intersections Festival, this magnificent evening of sequin-clad escapism was beloved by more than just audience members; Bollywood Fever was a high-point of the performance season for many of the “Silkies,” as the members of Silk Road Dance Company are affectionately known.

Kat, one of the Silkies involved in Bollywood Fever, perfectly summarized her feelings towards the show. According to her, the fun music and lighthearted energy that Bollywood dancing creates in the rehearsal studio make for a bright spot in her week. This sentiment is certainly shared by many of her sister Silkies.

Shiraz, a new Silky who travels two hours from Delaware to get to SRDC rehearsals, loved her Bollywood Fever experience. Coming from an Arabic dance background, this was her first time ever time performing Bollywood dance. Her favorite part of the performance process has been how it has allowed her to access a different culture. “Dancing is universal,” she succinctly stated during a SRDC rehearsal. “Through different dance styles, you can appreciate other cultures and what they have to offer.”

Bollywood is also a departure from the norm for Ahmad, an Egyptian-American dancer and actor who recently earned his MFA from Pace University. He usually performs Arabic and Uzbek dance with SRDC but ever since the company’s Artistic Director, Dr. Laurel Victoria Gray introduced him to the style, he has loved the friendly, warm, and inviting energy that Bollywood dance exudes. His favorite pieces in Bollywood Fever are two seeming opposites – the Rajasthani Ghoomar dance which he loves for its tribal, grounded, high-energy movement, and the Kathak-inspired Suno Re, a piece that he describes as ethereal and appreciates for the peaceful and pleasant break that it provides from the rest of the high-energy pieces in the show.

Nilufar also loves the excitement and shared energy of Bollywood dancing. However, for her, the Bollywood Fever is much more personally significant. Originally from Uzbekistan, Nilufar takes great pride in her Central Asian origin. (After all, it was the Uzbek conqueror Babur who established India’s Moghul dynasty.) She sees Bollywood Fever not just as fun, but as a way for her to fulfill her duty to preserve and promote her Central Asian culture. Nilufar is also feels inspired and empowered while dancing Bollywood pieces. “For moments in the show, you get to experience being another person. It gives you a chance to have another life.”

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 2013, Silk Road Dance Company®. All rights reserved.

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!