Silk Road Dance Company, cultural understanding through Beauty and Delight
Laura Carey, Principal Dancer
With a strong background in ballet, Laura also has a deep interest in the dances of the Caucasus and Central Asian. She studied Azerbaijani dance while living in Baku. She participated in the First Annual Conference on Iranian Dance.
Laura traveled to Singapore with Silk Road Dance Company to perform at the Asian Civilisations Museum exhibit of "Treasures of the Aga Khan." She is a featured soloist in the ensemble's concert work Shahnameh: Adventures from the Persian Book of Kings.
PHOTO BY IMIJPHOTO.COM
Courtney Smothers has always loved dance, but began serious study and performance only as an adult after earning undergraduate degrees in Russian language and economics and beginning a career as an attorney. Although she initially planned to take just one or two dance classes, she fell under the spell of the traditions of Central Asia and the Middle East. Courtney has complemented her dance studies with travel to Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan, Mongolia and Uzbekistan. She works for the government on international trade issues.
PHOTO BY ALI KHALIGH PHOTOGRAPHY
Of Kurdish heritage, Keylan has felt the urge to move to music throughout her entire life. From elementary through high school, Keylan improvised and choreographed pieces for family audiences, and studied ballet and jazz dance. In college she explored Medieval dance, international folk dance, and ballroom dance.
In 1993, Keylan began to study “raqs sharqi." Soon after, she began learning Persian and other dance styles with creative genius Laurel Victoria Gray, as part of Silk Road Dance Company (SRDC). She was a principal dancer with SRDC for 10 years, as well as founding member and Assistant Director. With SRDC she performed at venues such as the Kennedy Center and the Warner Bros. Studios in Burbank, CA.
An accomplished web designer and gifted writer, Keylan's skills helped shape the culture of Silk Road Dance Company. She developed the company handbook and crafted SRDC's oft-imitated mission statement: Cultural Understanding through Beauty and Delight.