Silk Road Dance Company, cultural understanding through Beauty and Delight
Gul Bahaar: A Celebration of Uzbek, Indian, and Persian Dance
JUNE 16, 2007
Gunston Theatre : Arlington, Virginia
Metro Washington DC Area
Dance Concert Celebrates
Uzbek, Indian, and Persian Connections
Arlington, VA – The sumptuous beauty of the Moghul court came alive at the Gunston on Saturday, June 16. The performance, 'Gul Bahaar : A celebration of Uzbek, Indian and Persian dance” honored three distinct Eastern cultural traditions which interacted and influenced each other.
Classical pieces and folkloric dances were presented in lavish, colorful costumes by DC’s premiere Middle Eastern and Central Asian dance ensemble, the award- winning Silk Road Dance Company. People’s Artist of Uzbekistan Qizlarhon Dustmuhamedova and Indian guest artists Asha Vattakutti and Jayantee Payne presented North Indian selections.
Although Persian and Uzbek classical dance come from an Islamic culture and North Indian court dance springs from Hindu roots, these dance forms share some intriguing similarities dating in part to the Moghul dynasty. For Uzbeks, the 16th century emperor Babur is a much-admired hero and poet;
for Indians, he is remembered as a cruel conqueror. But from either perspective, Babur is recognized as the founder of the Moghul dynasty that blended Central Asian Islamic culture with North Indian Hindu traditions.
The cross pollination of these Central Asian and Indian traditions flowered in a court culture remarkable for music, dance, and poetry. (Babur’s work, the Baburnama, was translated into Persian and esteemed by Persians.) The West is familiar with the most famous example of Moghul architecture,
the Taj Mahal. One vibrant result of this cross-cultural contact remains today in the classical dance genre known as Kathak which developed into its contemporary form at the Moghul courts.