Tag Archive: Washington DC


 

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

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.

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.

Today is #GivingTuesday!

Today is Giving Tuesday, a national day to show support for non-profits and their good works.

Silk Road Dance Company is a non-profit tax-exempt arts organization devoted to “Cultural Understanding through Beauty and Delight.” You can support our work with a donation, by following us on Facebook and Twitter, and by volunteering.

To show our appreciation for your support, we have a special gift of a beautiful concert DVD that is not commercially available, for a donation of $50.

Learn how you can support our “Caravan of Joy” SRDC at http://www.silkroaddance.com/support


The color and grace of Central Asian women’s dance will enliven the Seattle Asian Art Museum when DC-based Silk Road Dance Company presents a series of public programs and concerts on Saturday May 5th. The award-winning ensemble will share rare dance traditions in stunning costumes in conjunction with the current “Colors of the Oasis” exhibition of Uzbek textiles.

Seattle, Washington — The award-winning Silk Road Dance Company will share the beauty of Uzbek dance at the Seattle Asian Art Museum on May 5, 2012. Based in Washington, D.C., the dance ensemble will present family friendly daytime shows as well as two evening concerts in conjunction with the Colors of the Oasis exhibit of Central Asian textiles.

SAAM’s current Colors of the Oasis exhibition features dazzling textiles that were created in the oasis cities of Central Asia, primarily Uzbekistan. Silk Road Dance Company’s extensive repertoire of Uzbek dances and colorful traditional costumes will provide another dimension to exhibit. Family friendly daytime programs at 11 am, noon, and 1 pm, are free to the public. Tickets are required for the 6 pm and 8 pm evening concerts and can be reserved online.

Silk Road Dance Company performs throughout the US and internationally in Uzbekistan, Qatar and Canada. The ensemble’s pioneering performances offer a unique glimpse of the life and art of little known cultures, especially the Islamic world

Silk Road Dance Company (SRDC) has deep ties to the Seattle area through Artistic Director Laurel Victoria Gray, who founded the ensemble in 1995. A native of Washington state and former Seattle resident, Gray was active in the Seattle-Tashkent Sister City Association and lived in Tashkent for two years to study traditional dance and culture.

Seattle residents can also study dance with Gray while she is in Seattle. She will help prepare a Silk Road themed marching team that will participate in the 2012 Fremont Solstice Parade. Rehearsals will take place at VDP studio, a business owned by Delilah Flynn, a Fremont resident and professional dancer who has for 20 years has organized dance teams for the parade.

Info on Silk Road Fremont Parade classes:
http://visionarydance.com/seattle-studio/class-info/solstice-parade-2012/

Online ticket for Silk Road Dance Company SAAM concerts:
http://www.seattleartmuseum.org/calendar/eventDetail.asp?eventID=23980&month=4&day=5&year=2012&sxID=&WHEN=
###

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 2012 and 2013, Silk Road Dance Company®. All rights reserved.

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.

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!

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


.
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.

Inspired by the 2002 Smithsonian Silk Road Festival, this event celebrates the color and excitment of traditional dances of Silk Road cultures.

Workshops begin at 9 am and include Uzbek and Kathak dance. A bazaar and an Uzbek teahouse – “Chaikhona” – will recreate the colors and flavors of the East.

A gala evening concert beginning at 8 pm will feature the award-winning Silk Road Dance company and special international guest artists from China, India, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan.

TICKETS $20 in advance/ $25 at door
available online at: https://joesmovement.secure.force.com/ticket#details_a0OF0000004F06dMAC

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!