SOLOS OF MY LIFE (2011)
Love affairs of my past for the future — solos of my life is a collection of personal stories that I have carried with me for miles and years. These stories are the very foundation of who I think I was, who I am and who I want to be. It is with these stories that I remember the past, relate to present, and dream of the future. Contemporarizing these stories has been a goal of my artistic work so that as I revisit these stories, I can move on; be on the move constantly; for when I don’t move, I don’t exist.
Molded into one story, solos of my life, was embraced by four beautiful, wise souls, their presence and care: Sylvie, Viv, Marie-Josée, and Katherine whose generosity and love has been a guiding light for this journey of re-discovery.”
Choreography and Concept — Sashar Zarif
Music Design – Sashar Zarif
Music Production – Eric Cadesky
Live music performance and arrangement -- Sashar Zarif , Katherine Duncanson
Archival music -- Shovket Alakbarova, Rashid Behbudov, Khan Nene by Ostad Sahriyar
Performers — Sylvie Bouchard, Marie-Josée Chartier, Katherine Duncanson, Viv Moore, and Sashar Zarif
Costume and Set Design — Sashar Zarif
Dramaturge — Sohail Parsa
Creative facilitator – Katherine Duncanson
Lighting Design — Arun Srinivasan
Stage Manager — Gillian Lewis
Photography -- Mahla Ghasempour
Unavailable At This Time.
My mission is to encourage the use of dance as an effective artistic tool to raise global awareness starting from our own communities. I work to preserve and promote dance through research, exploration, education and new creations for the stage. The base for most of my artistic work emerges from traditional, ritualistic, as well as contemporary perspectives, exploring dance styles of the Near East and Central Asia. My life and artistic practice have been invaluably enriched by the many successful experiences I have had in my extensive ethnographic field work both in traditional and popular cultural contexts (especially in Iran and Central Asia). This includes my collaborations with such international artists as Alim Qasimov (Azerbaijan-winner of Unesco MIC award 1999), Nanjid Baatar (celebrated Mongolian dance artist), Professor Micheal Pervus Smith and his chamber orchestra, Holly Small (on In the Letters of My Name winner of TIDF Paula Citron Award 2006), Terrill Maguire, Susan Cash, Dr. Ustad Ulfat Ahang (Afghanistan), Composer Pirouz Yousefian (Iran) and many others.
I have been researching, studying, creating and teaching traditional and ritualistic dance forms of Asia Minor, the Middle East and Central Asia not only in Canada but also across Europe, Iran, Azerbaijan, and Mongolia. My art has always been a reflection of my experiences and my battles/challenges with displacement and identity. Born into an immigrant Azerbaijani family in Iran and raised in Iran, India, Turkey, and finally Canada, I have been familiar with diversity and displacement since an early age. I lived through the war and conflict of the Iranian revolution, as well as the wars in Iran and Iraq where I feared torture and imprisonment as a minor. It was necessary to leave my family to escape through the mountains to Turkey. Following three years in a refugee camp in Turkey I established myself, as a young teenager, in my new home, Canada. These experiences have been a challenging battle of identity for me. At this point I have come to understand that my identity is not only about the history behind me, nor is it only about the present or the future. It is about a person right here, right now, who lived through that history while striving, dreaming, hoping, and aiming for a better future.
I realize that what I have been working for is to develop an identity - one that includes, on one hand, the diversity of cultures I have been a part of and have lived in, and on the other hand, the urge to belong and to be part of the texture of the community I live in now. The dance I create, regardless of its traditional or contemporary format, is a product of displacement and placement, of making a place for myself in the new space in which I am living now. I owe it to myself and other people like myself, who live here now, to have our stories told and to reconsider our idea of identity. Other people should hear our life stories, our dreams and hopes through an introduction to our identity. I realize that anyone, and in this era, many of us, who claim a more complex identity are marginalized. A person who lived through many displacements, like myself, clearly carries with him/her many different allegiances or belongings, and he/she ought to be allowed to use all of them. My object is not to discover within myself some essentials allegiance in which I may recognize myself. Rather the opposite: I scour my memory to find as many ingredients of my identity as I can. I then assemble and arrange them. I don't deny any of them.