This past weekend found me in vibrant and beautiful Montreal, a city to which I returned after several years. I was there as part of a Central Asian dance tour during which we stopped in the city for a night and performed at La Salle Oscar Peterson in 2008, and a second time for performance at Caf' Conc Theatre with the Saucy Tarts in 2011.
This time, I had the engaging and joyful experience of teaching there. I taught a a class on Tajik dance, followed by workshop on Afghan and Anatolian dances, hosted by Sanaa Dance/Sanaa Danse at beautifully sunlit studios of Studio Caravane. It was a joy to meet the dancers there, some of whom were from the company and local to Montreal, and others who had come in to join the workshops from Trois-Rivières.
I stayed in Mile End, at the home of my dear friends Paroma and Branden. They currently live in a beautiful home filled with very interesting books, and decor from across the world. As I played a song in my headphones the first night- "Mana Manam"- the Tajik Zafar Ayubi version (a song which has special significance for me - I heard it several years ago on the cassettes of my friend Sara, who played the Persian versions for me in Kingston), I enjoyed the glow of this beautiful hanging lamp. Coincidentally, this lamp also reminds me of a tulip flower, which is recurrent in poetry and imagery of many Persianate and Central Asian cultures, which felt like a fitting atmosphere for this song!
Below is a photo taken at the Studio Caravane the next day, with the brave participants of the workshop! I am wearing here the costume from Diyarbakir, Turkey which Gonul Ozturkman (faculty member at Dicle University State Conservatory Dance Department in Diyarbakir) helped me select.
It was truly a delight to work with all of them, and I also cherished catching up briefly with Samantha Burnstein, the Artistic Director of Sanaa Dance (http://www.sanaafolklore.com/), whose work on folklore dancing I deeply respect. The company is hosting some fantastic folklore workshops this month, the details of which can be found on their Facebook page: www.facebook.com/Sanaa-Dance-Sanaa-Danse-247173315413126/