Silk Road Dance Company was founded in 1995 by Artistic Director Dr. Laurel Victoria Gray - World Dance professor at George Washington University - and recipient of the "Xalqlar Do'stligi" Medal from the Government of Uzbekistan for her decades of work in preserving and promoting Uzbek dance culture. Her Silk Road Dance Company offers programs which reflect the depth and breadth of field research and study conducted by Gray who has received many awards for her life-time of creative work
The award-winning, critically acclaimed Silk Road Dance Company (SRDC) presents an extensive repertoire of more than 200 dances from Central Asia, Iran, the Middle East, South Asia, the Caucasus. and beyond. With the goal of promoting “Cultural Understanding through Beauty and Delight,” their pioneering performances offer a unique glimpse of the life and art of ancient cultures, especially the Islamic World.The ensemble has given performances internationally in Uzbekistan, Qatar, Singapore, United Kingdom and Canada. Based in Washington, DC, the ensemble has graced prestigious national venues including two White House performances and 11 Kennedy Center appearances. They have given presentations for 11 different embassy events, most recently at the Embassy of Albania.
Persian dance has enjoyed growing popularity over the past two decades, increasing during the COVID pandemic, when remote learning offered new opportunities for dance study, albeit under non-traditional conditions. Along with many positive benefits brought by this higher profile, current trends reflect a homogenization of movement vocabulary and costuming styles. By exploring the diversity of historical realities that shaped Persian culture, as well as extending the definition of “Persia” beyond the current political boundaries of Iran, performers can find fresh ideas for their dance.
In this talk, you will learn… 1.What is “Persian?” Ethnic and Geographic Definitions 2. Lessons from Kindred Cultures in Persian History and Literature 3. Acknowledging a Debt Owed to Non-Persian Cultural Carriers 4. Loss of the Ustad – Shagird tradition: YouTube, Brutus?5. The White Dress Phenomenon 6. Modern Stage Costumes vs. Historical Reality 7. Embracing Diversity in Persian Dance
SHAHNAMEH! Adventures from the Persian Book of Kings
"We in the Washington area are lucky to have the Silk Road Dance company bring us a living version of the Shahnameh. I'm so glad that more people can know of this masterpiece of Persian literature that is over 1,000 years old. And the emphasis that Laurel Victoria Gray, puts on the authenticity of the choreography and the costumes really shines through the performance. There's really nothing like it in the country!" Deborah James Washington, DC
LAZGI FESTIVAL in Khiva, Uzbekistan April 2022
Lectures by Artistic Director Laurel Victoria Gray
SEPTEMBER 15, 2021 Cultural Heritage Conference Khiva, Uzbekistan
This lecture examines how aspects of Khorezm history and traditions may provide solutions to global crises with insights gleaned from archeology and literature. These reflect ritual connections between a goddess of water, purification, and dance. Biomedical research and personal experiences in Uzbek dance provide insights into the healing benefits of Lazgi. Cultivating the embodied wisdom of ancient spiritual practices can guide future steps to healing the planet and ourselves.
Recent international conference presentations on dance by our Artistic Director in September and October 2020.
Fulbright Association Virtual Conference
Presentation at International Conference Tashkent, Uzbekistan
Research Paper for International Conference
Virtual Silk Road Bazaar Saturday, November 6th @ 1:00pm
Lecture on Uzbek Dance History August 19, 2020 @ 7:00 pm
This lecture responds to assertions that contemporary Uzbek stage dance is an artificial Soviet-era invention and examines pre-revolutionary dance traditions among the Central Asian women. Gray proposes a more nuanced understanding of the origins of the gestural heritage of Uzbek dance that reflects traditional life ways, making it a vital element of cultural expression. REGISTRATION: $10 Register at http://www.uzbek-dance.org/
By Alana Hayes
Silk Road Dance Company (SRDC) is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year! And, you’re all invited to the party! Welcome! Please, come in. Find a chair. Yes, this is the party. Take a seat. Grab a kebab. There will be a fundraising auction at the end of this event. I’m kidding, there won’t be an auction. This is the party though! Hosted by, yours truly, The Haifa Girls. If you would like to help support Silk Road Dance Company and their efforts for the preservation of women’s culture along the Silk Road, then you can right here.
Silk Road Dance Company is based out of the DMV (DC metro area). The company was founded in 1995 by Dr. Laurel Victoria Gray, who also happens to be a Professor of World Dance at George Washington University. I met Laurel while I was still in college (I went to UMBC) through a friend who danced in her company and I immediately fell in love with Silk Road. I loved their mission, I loved that it was a cultural organization, I loved the dances, the clothing, and Laurel herself. She’s just such a knowledgeable person and she’s so passionate about what she does that you can’t help but fall in love with all of it too.
Experience the dazzling diversity of Silk Road dances, from the deserts of Central Asia to the mountains of the Caucasus. Silk Road Dance Company performs with special Guest Artists. Enjoy a pre-concert Silk Road Bazaar of intriguing items. Concert is free with a $10 suggested donation; no tickets or reservations required. Sponsored by the City of Takoma Park's Takoma Park Arts series.
2018 Uzbekistan Independence Day at the World Bank
LECTURE AT TEXTILE MUSEUM Living Legacy: Women's Dances of Uzbekistan
APRIL , 2018 NOON
Annual Family Festival at the GWU Textile Museum
SHAHNAMEH! Adventures from the Persian Book of Kings OCTOBER 21, 2017 @ 7 pm Takoma Auditorium $10 suggested donation
A magical bird, an evil dragon, a clever princess, and a valiant hero bring to life the Shahnameh, an ancient masterpiece written over a thousand years ago. With vivid choreography and ornate costumes, Silk Road Dance Company presents fantastical tales from ancient Persia.
Tirgan 2017 Iranian Arts Festival Toronto, Canada July 27 - 30
Silk Road Dance Company Performs in "Asia Rising" Concert in Cincinnati
Embassy of Georgia 1824 R Street Washington, DC Join the diplomats of the Embassy of Georgia for a special evening of native food, wine, music, film, art - and a very special Georgian fashion show and dance presentation by Silk Road Dance Company.
Thanks to the initiative of group of young Iranian-Americans in Washington, DC, Iranian culture was represented at Fiesta Asia festival this year - the largest celebration of Asian culture and heritage in the nation's capital. Silk Road Dance Company performed contemporary and folkloric Iranian dances.
On May 14th, Silk Road Dance Company presented traditional dances of Uzbekistan to a full house at the Takoma Auditorium. The program was introduced by Abdufarrukh Khabirov, Second Secretary at the Embassy of Uzbekistan. After the concert, audience members enjoyed a reception with traditional Uzbek cuisine generously provided by the embassy. Guests also had the opportunity to view traditional Uzbek crafts and speak with embassy representatives about the country.
Since 1995, Silk Road Dance Company's pioneering artistic achievements in presenting women's dance of the Islamic World has earned them many awards and honors. Read more... ______________________________________
Government of Uzbekistan Awards Laurel Victoria Gray with "Xalqlar Dosligi" Medal
From Uzbek Ambassador Javlon Vakhabov:
"A wonderful evening The Embassy of the Republic of Uzbekistan in the U.S. and Canada hosted yesterday launching the 18th Central Asian Dance Camp. It was my great honor to present the award “Friendship Among The Peoples” to Laurel Victoria Gray (Silk Road Dance Company) for her invaluable contribution to enhancing people-to-people ties and promoting #Uzbekistan culture in the U.S.
Laurel Khanum has not only dedicated her life mastering Uzbek dance in the U.S. and far beyond, but also remains most humble, professional, and passionate about what she is doing. And this lady is an internationally recognized scholar, choreographer, performer, costume designer, pioneer of Uzbek dance in America. I am inspired by her noble personality that always searches for new discoveries.
Laurel Khanum has mastered dances from Silk Road cultures and beyond. She combines her degrees in history with decades of field research and teaches dance at The George Washington University. Dr. Gray founded the award-winning Silk Road Dance Company (SRDC) in 1995, bringing the lovers of our culture together at the Central Asian Dance Camp annually, showing the beauty during many events across the U.S. and far beyond.
Dr. Laurel Victoria Gray, in one word, is our treasure in the U.S. Thank you for everything you have been doing over the years. I hope to continue our long-lasting friendship."
What better way to launch a dance company’s 25th year than with a sumptuous performance? And so, Silk Road Dance Company will perform The Golden Road to Samarkand at Atlas Performing Arts Center’s Intersections Festival in Washington, D.C., on February 22. CLICK HERE FOR ENTIRE ARTICLE
Uzbek Newspaper Report on Central Asian Dance Camp
Russian Language Newspaper Report on our Central Asian Dance Camp at Embassy of Uzbekistan
The First Lady introduces Silk Road Dance Company at the historic March 11, 2015 White House Nowruz Celebration.
“I think it’s so fitting that we are holding this celebration here today because, one of my favorite things about the White House is how it is truly the people’s house. A house that reflects the diversity of culture and traditions that make us who we are as a country. And Nowruz is one of those traditions.”
First Lady Michelle Obama March 11, 2015
Read the remarks by First Lady Michelle Obama and her introduction of Silk Road Dance Company by clicking on the link below:
Dance conveys a culture without words, and dancers in Washington share the cultures they love from around the world. Each has unique characteristics, from dances of everyday activities in Central Asia to tributes to great kings in Africa.
Silk Road Dance Company ® is a Registered Trademark of the Silk Road Dance Company, A Maryland nonprofit corporation and a 501(c)3 exempt tax non-profit organization. Silk Road Dance Company P.O. Box 11346 Takoma Park, MD 20913 • 301-585-1105 • firstname.lastname@example.org The contents of this website, 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.
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