with Dr. Laurel Victoria Gray
Silk Road Synthesis, Persian, Azerbaijani, Georgian
Uzbek, Tajik, Afghani, Uighur, Kazakh,
Spanish-Arabic Fusion, Russian Romani ("Gypsy"), Bollywood,
Ancient Egyptian, California Tribal, Vampyre Tango and More!
Silk Road Synthesis
A new movement system based on Eastern traditions.
Copyright 2010 by Laurel Victoria Gray
Silk Road Synthesis (SRS) is a contemporary dance style created by Laurel Victoria Gray. SRS derives from the traditional movement vocabulary of Turkic, Persianate, Arabic, Trans-Caucasian, Central and South Asian cultures, blended with Western presentational techniques.
SRS includes a vast range of gestures, movements, traveling steps, spins and turns, and facial expressions. Manyof these have secial meanings that can be read by those from the Cultures of Origin that have contributed to these dances. Some gestures derive from every-day tasks and elements of Nature while other have emotional significance.
SRS remains true to the original aesthetics of the Cultures of Origin while adapting them for the stage. Respectful of indigenous values and attitudes, SRDS movement remains within the range of what is considered appropriate, beautiful, or appealing in
these traditional societies. History, legends, myths, spirituality, and social issues from SRS geographical areas provide inspiration and narratives for new
An example of SRS is Laurel Victoria Gray's work Cry of the Heart. This choreography has been described by People's Artist Qizlarhon Dusmuhamedova as ''a mosaic of Eastern women's gestures and feelings.'' Dancers are confined to a small space thoughout the piece, a reflection of the circumscribed lives of women in many traditional societies. Heavily veiled, they express deep emotions with movements of hands, arms, and torso.
This comprehensive workshop provides a cultural context for the historical and folkloric dance from Persia and Iran. Costuming information is also covered, helping participants understand stylistic and regional differences.
Workshop can focus on technique - arms, hands, traveling steps, and spins - and it may include complete choreographies in Classical and various folkloric styles.
The video below provides samples of various choreographies by Laurel Victoria Gray, performed by Silk Road Dance Company.
Energetic, elegant, vigorous, or playful, the different dance styles of Azerbaijan provide technical challenges and require expressive qualities. Basic elements, especially posture and traveling steps, are emphasized in workshop. Please allow time to cover history, culture, and costuming; all contributr greatly to understanding these dance traditions.
Solo and group choreographies are available.
Experience the beauty of any or all of the three major styles of Uzbek dance from Ferghana, Khorezm and Bukhara. Dr. Laurel Victoria Gray has conducted extensive field research in Uzbekistan, visiting 13 times and living there for two years. She includes many Uzbek dances in her personal repertoire, as well as that of her professional ensemble, the Silk Road Dance Company.
Students can learn the "Doire Dars," a choreographic etude taught at Tashkent's Choreographic Institute, providing a sound technical basis for Uzbek dance. Students will also be introduced to the disticntive dance rhythms and traveling steps, hands and arms characteristic of each regional style.
Ancient Egyptian "Pharoanic" Dance
Hooray for Bollywood
Dancing is an important and beloved part of Bollywood films. Although Bollywood choreographies originally drew from classical Indian dance and folk forms, belly dance and jazz elements have recently entered the mix.
Since 2004, Laurel Victoria Gray has created over a dozen exquisite Bollywood choreographies in a variety of styles, from energetic folklore pieces to glamous Moghul court dances. Learn specific gestures, techniques, and a complete choreography.
Before there was American Tribal (ATS), there was California Tribal in the 1970s, inspired by the legendary Bal Anat dance company directed by Jamila Salimpour. California Tribal dance is less codified than ATS and closely reflects the connections to North African dance and Orientalist
paintings. Laurel Victoria Gray joined the Seattle based Jalaal Dance Company in 1976, initiating her into the popular California Tribal style.
Recent Workshops with Laurel Victoria Gray
Azerbaijani Dance Choreography
Iranian Bandari Workshop
Uzbek Ferghana Choreography
Ethnic Dance Theatre
April 26, 2014
Turkic Dances of the Silk Road
April 27, 2013
Silk Road Dance Workshop
January 12, 2013
Russian Romani Dance Workshoop