Tag Archive: Persian


 

by Gordiya Khademian

26880827574_035086675a_o.jpg

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. .

Advertisements


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.”

###

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

DSC_7298

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.

Rose of Isfahan

Roses, Roses, Roses!

Silk Road Dance Company’s repertoire of over 130 dances included several choreographies inspired by roses, all created by our Artistic Director since our founding in 1995. Two pieces — The Rose of Isfahan (2002) and Spring Rain in the Rose Garden (1995) — draw on Persian Classical dance vocabulary.

Two other dances — Desert Rose and Al Ward al Foll (The Perfume of the Rose) — use Arabic music. Desert Rose has contemporary elements, including silk veils. More traditional, Al Ward al Foll, employs folkloric Egyptian Saiidi music and dance elements.

Why roses? Perhaps they are so cherished in the East. For example, the celebrated Rose of Isfahan has an intense perfume and delicate flower, making it a long-time favorite with gardeners.

We enjoy sharing these enchanting dances with our audiences, reminding them of the exquisite beauty of Nature.

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.

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.

Tirgan Festival's Prestigious Arash Award

Tirgan Festival's Prestigious Arash Award

TORONTO, Ontario. Laurel Victoria Gray, Artistic Director of Washington DC’s Silk Road Dance Company, received the prestigious Arash Award at the closing gala of Toronto’s Tirgan Festival, the world’s largest Iranian cultural celebration, held July 21-24, 2011. The honor is bestowed on leading artists and literary figures in Iranian culture. Gray is the first American of non-Iranian descent to receive this award.
Known for her innovative choreographies based on the movement vocabulary of traditional Persian and Central Asian dance forms, Laurel Victoria Gray actively promotes understanding of the Islamic world through her cultural presentations, performances, and lectures. She founded the Silk Road Dance Company in 1995; the ensemble has since performed throughout the US as well as in Qatar and Uzbekistan.

At the invitation of the Tirgan Organizing Committee, Silk Road Dance Company presented several programs at this year’s festival. Tirgan 2011 showcased the talents of over 150 Iranian artists, many of whom traveled thousands of miles to attend the festival. Exemplary performances in music, dance and theatre were presented, and world class masterpieces in cinema and the visual arts were made available to the public.
The Arash Award is named for the legendary Persian archer who, during a dispute between Persian and non-Persian peoples, put his soul into a magical arrow destined to peaceably mark the boundaries between two kingdoms. The stunning statuette was designed by Iranian sculptor Ahmad Sakhavarz. Made from 24 carat gold-plated pewter, the Arash Award was manufactured by the same company that created the Oscars.

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.