For Persian and Central Asian cultures, the New Year is celebrated at the Spring Equinox. This ancient holiday of Nowruz – which means “new day” in Persian - celebrates rebirth and renewal. Through commentary, video, and dance you will learn about unique Persian traditions that help to assure a healthy, happy, and prosperous coming year.
Dr. Laurel Victoria Gray is a dance scholar, choreographer, performer, and costume designer, specializing in women’s dances from the Islamic World. She teaches Global Dance History at George Washington University. Her award-winning Silk Road Dance Company, founded in 1995, frequently performs at Persian community events, including the very first White House Nowruz celebration. CLICK HERE TO REGISTER ONLINE
Haft Paykar celebrates ethnic diversity, extols the beauty of other cultures, and praises the wisdom of women. Written in Persian by the poet Nizami Ganjavi in 1197, it is an epic tale of the young warrior, Bahram Gur, who enters a mysterious, locked room to discover the portraits of seven beautiful princesses, each from a different land and each destined to teach him the wisdom needed for a wise ruler. Laurel Victoria Gray brought a fresh perspective to this legendary poem when her concert work premiered in 2005. In this lecture, she will discuss her unique approach to the choreography, costuming, and casting, as well as personal and production challenges. She believes that a deeper understanding of the literary, cultural, and historical aspects of the poem can enrich the development of Persian dance in the 21st century.
Exploring Persian Nowruz Traditions with Dr. Laurel Victoria Gray
MARCH 14, 2021 Haft Paykar: Seven Beauties - Dancing the Diversity of Nizami's Epic Poem with Dr. Laurel Victoria Gray
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