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Photos from "Atelier Orientale"

Poster for event

Introduction by curator Anahid Sofian and photos by Lina Jang
posted September 14, 2011

I am very excited to present the new "Atelier Orientale" series at my studio.  I have a wonderful space that sits unused for a great deal of the time, and there are many fellow dancers and choreographers who are as frustrated as I am for not having decent performing spaces in which to work.  In addition, with the highly competitive dance scene in New York, very few opportunities are offered to Middle Eastern dancers by presenters. 

With the Atelier, I hope to help fill this void. Artists are encouraged to present new works, whether traditional, contemporary or experimental, and can present solos or bring up to three troupe members with them. And our audiences will be exposed to professional-level, high quality work.  

I kicked off the series by sending a letter of invitation to a number of my fellow dancers, who all responded with support and enthusiasm.  The "inaugural" Atelier on June 19th included those dancers whose schedule was available. I already have a number of artists lined up for the next Atelier, tentatively scheduled for November 6th, 2011.  In the future, the invitation will also be open to "new faces," who can submit proposals and samples of their work.   

We had a capacity and very enthusiastic audience at the June 19 event.   My deepest thanks to the dancers who presented exciting and varied works.  Some were finished, some were works in progress being tried for the first time, some were charting new waters.  We had dances that included Arab and Andalusian fusion music (Aszmara) Middle Eastern jazz (Azza Amon), contemporary Khaleeji (Nadia Maria Michaels), traditional Arabic ney taxsim (Jean Musacchio), original Modern Persian composition (Anahid Sofian), a dramatic Oriental Dance routine (Sira Melikian) and Manhattan Tribal’s unorthodox use of a Turkish 9/8 rhythm for the first time.  I also showed a music video I had participated in in 1983, "Trail of the Sphinx,"  which was a bit of a trail blazer at the time. I plan to include rare videos and film whenever possible, and will also include musicians when funds allow.

The Atelier is a project of The Field, a non-profit organization that serves the arts community in New York.  If anyone would like to make a donation, it can be done on their website.  Just find my name in their Sponsored Artists list and follow instructions.


Nadia Maria Michaels in: Warini,
music by Guitara


Aszmara in: Las Cuevas,
music: Fain S. Duenas– traditional Arab-Andalusian

Manhattan Tribal

Manhattan Tribal
with Mimi Fontana (director), Heather Bondra, Debbie Lakis and Stephanie Rubino-Ginsburg
in: Nihavent, music by Guitara

They also performed the ATS Meets Turkish 9/8 Project ,
music: "Panceresi Yola Karso" by Turku


Jean Musacchio in: Spirit at the Well,
music: traditional Arabic ney taxsim, source unknown


Azza Amon in: Silk Tears,
music by Simon Shaheen

Anahid Sofian in: One Who Plants a Tree,
music by Jamshied Sharifi

Anahid Sofian in her cobra character

Anahid Sofian as her cobra character in the music video, "Trail of the Sphinx," produced and directed by Mike Mannetta in 1983, with music by the fusion group, Port Said.  This was produced at a time when music videos were first hitting the scene, and this was one of the first using a Middle Eastern theme.  Anahid showed it at the Atelier event.

Azza Amon and Dancers in: Aicha, with her troupe, Kaitlin Hines, Nabila and Tammy Wise,
music Cheb Khaled choreographed by Azza

Sira Melikian in: Tarab: A Journey into Musical Ecstasy and Trance,
music: “Battle of Kadesh” by Zachary Mechlem, Nay taxsim excerpt by Samir Seblini, “Ayoub” by Hossam Ramzy


Final Company Bows

" Meet the Artists" reception after the performance.
Souren Baronian dances with Sira and other guests

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