CHOREOGRAPHIES OF MIGRATION (2008)
Through this quartet of works, Zarif presents a very personal vernacular. From a pastiche of languages, cultures and movement, he creates a unique contemporary style and a fresh way of communicating using traditional Central Asian, Near Eastern and Western dance forms. Zarif's sense of displacement underlies Choreographies of Migration. Born into an immigrant family in Tehran, moving through India, Turkey, and other countries before arriving in Canada, he compels us to examine the various and often complicated relationships that inform ideas of home, identity and self. Each piece represents a different period of awareness and growth in his journey from Iran to Canada; each borrows from different stops in his physical and spiritual odyssey that saw him survive revolution, war and refugee camps.
i) Cry of Leyla - Remembering the whispers and memories of childhood.
ii) Najva - A midnight prayer in nature.
iii) ANAR - The cruelty of darkness. In memory of Azarmidokht.
iv) Life is The Feeling of A Migrating Bird - Disconnected sense of fulfillment decorated with good and bad memories.
Choreography and Concepts: Sashar Zarif
Music: Sashar Zarif, Fargana Qaimova, Alizadeh, Hamidi, Jahangiri
Original Lighting Design: Arun Srinivasan
Costume Design: Sashar Zarif
PREVIOUS SHOW POSTERS
Unavailable At This Time.
PAST PROGRAMS & VARIOUS WRITINGS
ORIGINAL PRESS RELEASE
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE PLEASE ADD TO LISTINGS UNTIL FEBRUARY 17, 2008
Media refer: Dianne Weinrib, Savi Pannu - DW Communications 416-703-5479 firstname.lastname@example.org
Mainstage Series presents
DW 170 Choreographies of Migration
by Sashar Zarif Dance Theatre
Toronto, February 6, 2008...DanceWorks is proud to present Choreographies of Migration by Sashar Zarif Dance Theatre. In this richly layered program, internationally acclaimed Azerbaijani-Iranian dance artist Sashar Zarif explores a series of migrations and cultural adaptations that ultimately led to his life in Canada. In so doing, he invites us to consider our own origins in a new way. This striking presentation features two solos, a trio and a quartet performed by a superlative company of seasoned dance artists. The production runs March 6-8, 8pm nightly at Enwave Theatre as part of Harbourfront Centre’s NextSteps Series.
Through this quartet of works, Zarif presents a very personal vernacular. From a pastiche of languages, cultures and movement, he creates a unique contemporary style and a fresh way of communicating using traditional Central Asian, Near Eastern and Western dance forms.
Zarif's sense of displacement underlies Choreographies of Migration. Born into an immigrant family in Tehran, moving through India, Turkey, and other countries before arriving in Canada, he compels us to examine the various and often complicated relationships that inform ideas of home, identity and self. Each piece represents a different period of awareness and growth in his journey from Iran to Canada; each borrows from different stops in his physical and spiritual odyssey that saw him survive revolution, war and refugee camps.
In The Letters of My Name uses 38 letters that spell his full name in three languages (Arabic, Persian, Azerbaijani), drawing on Zarif's memories of his early life in Iran as well as his time in refugee camps. Originally commissioned by Dance Ontario, this solo is performed by Zarif and is co-choreographed with Holly Small featuring music by John Oswald and dramaturgy by Soheil Parsa. It was the winner of the 2006 Paula Citron Award at the Toronto International Dance Festival (formerly fFIDA). In granting the award, Citron said, "Only wisdom and knowledge of life could have produced this powerful work."
The compelling trio Wait conjures memories of Zarif's childhood and a love of movement and dance passed on from his grandmother. Choreographed by Zarif, Wait is performed by dance artists Jennifer Bolt, Keiko Kitano and Robyn Alfonso.
The third and fourth segments, Anar and Life is the Feeling of a Migrating Bird are both world premieres choreographed by Zarif.
Created in honour of his 16-year-old cousin who was executed in Iran, Anar (pomegranate) is a quartet for accomplished dancers and York University professors Holly Small, Carol Anderson, Susan Cash and Terrill Maguire. Life is the Feeling of a Migrating Bird is an autobiographical solo performed by Zarif to live music performed by celebrated musician Anne Bourne on cello and vocals (heard also in Atom Egoyan’s The Sweet Hereafter). The final work of the evening, it is the summation of his migratory experience.
Sashar Zarif received his formal academic training in Azerbaijani Classical Dance in Baku and was awarded the title "Artist for the People of Azerbaijan." His varied studies in dance include the Indian classical dance Bharatanatyam, Uzbek, Tadjeek and Persian dance forms as well as Sufi performance and Central Asian shamanic rituals. He founded the Toronto-based Sashar Zarif Dance Theatre and Joshgoon Dance Academy in 1993. In 2001, he founded, and continues to direct, Dancers for Peace, an international festival reflecting a vision of hope and peace that transcends barriers between nations, races and religions which will be hosted by York University in the fall of 2008. In 2004, he received his Masters from York University, Faculty of Fine Arts, in Dance and Dance Ethnology. He is the winner of the 2006 Paula Citron Award (along with Holly Small) and the 2008 New Pioneers Arts Award from Skills for Change. After teaching at York for three years, he is currently pursuing a PhD in Performing Arts from Middlesex University in London, England. His choreographic work has been seen throughout North and South America, Europe and Azerbaijan.
Holly Small is a choreographer, performer and teacher who has been creating major collaborative works with like-minded choreographers, dancers and composers for over 25 years. She has been a member of York University’s dance faculty for 17 years.
Creative collaborators for the evening include Arun Srinivasan as lighting designer and Katherine Duncanson as creative facilitator.
There will be a pre-show gallery exhibit in the lobby, curated by Elnaz Hemmati, featuring some of Zarif’s letters, writings and drawings from his time in a refugee camp, a video installation and other cherished items that assist in telling this story of migration. The focal point of the gallery exhibition will be The Wishing Tree, an interactive installation created by Hemmati and Zarif.
DanceWorks presents Choreographies of Migration from Sashar Zarif Dance Theatre
March 6-8, 2008, 8pm at Harbourfront Centre's Enwave Theatre, 231 Queens Quay West, Toronto
DanceWorks 2007/08 Mainstage Season; part of Harbourfront Centre's NextSteps Series
Tickets: $27 ($17 students/seniors/CADA/WIFT/SCDS)
Box Office: 416-973-4000 Information: www.danceworks.ca