Wednesday, August 9, 2017

A Few Updates from a Busy Month

July had been a fun, but busy month! For both Mike and myself, as well as our music-dance group Ensemble Topaz! I thought I'd take a few moments to write a few memories from July.

The Canada Day weekend at the start of July was an exciting and fun start to the month. I performed earlier in the day at Pickering Markets Canada Day Diversity Celebration in Pickering, and that evening, the dancers of Ensemble Topaz and I performed at a beautiful wedding at The Vue in Etobicoke.

The next day, the dancers and musicians of Ensemble Topaz performed at the Ontario Place Mainstage, for the Ontario Heritage Festival. This was a fun gig..the musicians performed a combination of traditional tunes as well as some of Mike Anklewicz's original Klezfactor compositions, while the dancers and I performed three different styles of dance. This was my first time visiting Ontario Place, which has been newly renovated, and I found the grounds beautiful. It was also fun and refreshing to work again with live music, although we missed our bandleader Mike, who was playing his own gig at the Redpath Waterfront Festival just a few kilometres away!

                                                     Photo Credit: Larry Anklewicz 

A pic of the girls and I on the grounds overlooking the water, with the CN Tower in the background. 

We will be joining forces again with our musicians for some live music-dance performances for the Culture Days weekend this September, for which we are very excited! Please join us at the Annette Street Library on September 29 (Friday) and at the Palmerston Library Auditorium on September 30 (Saturday) from 3:00-4:00 pm! Free and open to all, like all Culture Days events! (

The second weekend of July found the girls and I at the beautiful Riverwalk Commons in Newmarket, for the Culture Bridge Festival Sights and Sounds of India. We truly enjoyed this one! I had previously performed classical Indian dance at the Culture Bridge Music evening at East Gwillimbury earlier in June, and it was great to return to perform for these fun and fabulous folks with the group this time. Immediately after this performance, Mike and I left in our car to go to Osgoode in the Ottawa area to join our friends from Troupe Obskurah for a weekend of performing and site animation at the Kingdom of Osgoode medieval festival. 

The following weekend, Angelica and I had a number of duet performances at private events, and the following day, all three of us performed at the Albert Campbell Square for Scarborough Celebrates 150. I also performed Afghan dance at a number of Eid events over this weekend. The photos below are of me and Angelica from some of the different duet gigs over this weekend. 

Above: at Scarborough Convention Centre 

At Grand Empire Banquet and Convention Centre

The following Friday, we performed at the Indo-Canada Arts Council's Diwali Razmatazz Curtainraiser at the Great Hall at Markham Civic Square. It was a lovely event, and also attended by the mayor of Markham. I loved the space of the Markham Civic Square and add below this photo taken in this space, before our performance. 

Over the weekend following this, Ensemble Topaz performed in the east end..Saturday began with Angelica and I performing at MP Salma Zahid's Community BBQ at the Birkdale Community Centre. Sharing below a photo from this event, in the lovely outdoor space of Birkdale Park. 

Photo Credit: community photographer

From there we went to the Gerrard Festival of South Asia, where Stella joined us, and the three of us performed for the festival, during our two day presence at the festival. This marked my return to the Festival of South Asia after 8 years..I had first performed there during its innaugural year in 2008.  Here we also met several of our friends from the dance and South Asian performance world, such as our friends from Salsa Toronto. I'd like to also extend gratitude to Kabul Kabab House for their incredible hospitality during my visits on both days of this festival. 

Photo Credit: Irfan Ali 

The weekend after this, I performed at a corporate client appreciation event where I was requested to perform traditional Loghari dance to rubab music. I truly appreciated performing these traditional numbers, and it was a lovely event. The next day, the dancers of Dilan Dance Company, under the leadership of Artistic Director Fethi Karakecili, in collaboration with Boostan Multicultural Collective, performed at the Tirgan Festival at Harbourfront. I performed two solos here, both choreographed by Fethi in the style of the contemporary Kurdish solo performance (a piece that was originally developed for and premiered at Karakecili's "The Dance of Colours: Legend of Newroz" (2014) world premiere, and a second piece titled "Arman Arman" in the style of Khorasani Kurdish, uniquely featuring a large Kurdish daf (frame drum) within the dance, which was choreographed by him this year (2017) for the Dilan Dance Company performance at John Candy Theatre, Second City in June. 

Below are some photographs from this performance, all taken by photographer Ken Dobb. 

Photo Credit: Ken Dobb 

After the performance, I also got a chance to enjoy the dance performance by Silk Road Dance Company from Maryland, USA performing at the WestJet Stage at the Tirgan Festival. Then I went to Arabesque to attend the Iraqi hetcha3 workshop taught by Samantha Burnstein, visiting dancer and  choreographer (Sara Mali handcrafted jewellery) from Montreal. It was wonderful to partake in this workshop, which I found to be a very cathartic experience, and it was also great to reconnect with many friends whom I hadn't seen in a long time. 

From there, Mike picked me up and we headed east to  the Beaches Jazz Festival, and to the home of our friends Angelica and Doug, who hosted a Beaches afterparty Bloc party, where I performed solo as well as three dance numbers with the Ensemble Topaz dancers. 

Finally we ended the month of performances the next day, with the Ensemble Topaz dancers and I performing at the beautiful Grand Banking Hall at the One King West Hotel in downtown Toronto. We performed my new choreography to a well-loved Pashto song, at the request of the client, as well as a contemporary Arabic piece. Sharing below a few photos from this beautiful space. 

Was a fun month! 

A few more months until Mike and I take off on our overseas dance and music travels. It has been a good summer so far, and we hope to see you at some of our future public events! Please join us in September for two Culture Days events which we are proud and delighted to be a part of: first at Annette Street Library on September 29th (, and secondly at Palmerston Library Theatre on September 30th from 3:00-4:00 pm ( 
Both events are free! We look forward to sharing some of our work with you. 

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