Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Reflections on Roma Dance Celebration 2014

This year marked the second Roma Dance Celebration for Culture Days. Curating and organizing this event was an adventure that Iana Komarnytska and I embarked on last year, when we were both living on the York University campus and enrolled in different programmes within York University's Department of Dance. We were joined in our 2013 celebration by a number of dancers, musicians and speakers sharing their knowledge and art. As with all Culture Days activities, the event was free and open to public. The Flemingdon Park Library hosted us in 2013, and our presenters and performers included myself and Iana Komarnytska, Ronald Lee from Hamilton, the band Ventanas, and Vira Burmenko and Paul Matthews.

This year, we were delighted and honoured to be hosted by the Palmerston branch of the Toronto Public Library this year, and they allotted their beautiful theatre space for this event. The event was held on Saturday, September 27, from 1:30-3:30 pm at the Palmerston Library Theatre. 

Our performers included myself, Iana, Ariane Terveld, Fethi Karakecili, the band Nomadica, featuring the beautiful singing of Roula Said and music by Juno Awardee David Buchbinder and several incredible musicians, Simona Jovic, who joined us all the way from France. Finally, we also had with us the band Ventanas, who were recently nominated for the Canadian Folk  Music Awards Best Ensemble of the Year (the band's vocalist  Tamar Ilana was additionally nominated for Best Traditional Singer of the Year). This year, we were also happy to host a small exhibition of photos by Ken Dobb, who had photographed the Khalbeliya and Rajasthani dancers and musicians during his trip to India. 

These are some photographs from the event, taken by Ken Dobb:

Ariane Terveld and Iana Komarnytska, performing Khalbeliya Dance from Rajasthan, India:

Paromita Kar performing folkloric dance from  northwestern India (Rajasthan/Gujrat region) with kartals (wooden castanets)

                                          Fethi Karakecili performing Turkish Roma Dance

Iana perforning Turkish Roma Dance to live music by the band Nomadica 

The band Nomadica! Seen in the photo are Roula Said (vocals), David Buchbinder (trumpet) and Peter Lutek (Clarinet):

Simona Jovic (France/Serbia) performing folkloric and Roma dances from the Balkan regions

 The band Ventanas, bringing us both music and dance! Seen in the photos:  are Tamar Ilana (vocals/dance), Dennis Duffin (guitar)

The finale of the event featured Ventanas singing the Balkan roma song "Tutti Frutti", to which Iana, Ariane, Simona and I improvised in Khalbeliya/Rajasthani dance style! It was great fun and here is a video of the improvised section!

The adventure continued into Sunday, September 28, when Simona taught workshops on Khalbeliya Dance and Ghawazee dance. The workshop series was organized by Troupe Obskurah and Iana Komarnytska. This is a photograph of all of us workshop participants after the event.

 I greatly enjoyed Simona's details on how the dance connected with the worldview or lifestyle of the community it was rooted in, and also her attention to the details of the form itself. It was a fabulous ending to the weekend! 

No comments:

Post a Comment