Avaz Int'l Dance Theater

Harriet & Charles Luckman
Fine Arts Complex
Contact: Diane Turner
Phone: (323) 343-6616
Fax: (323) 343-6423
Date: March 12, 1996



Embark on a cultural adventure as Avaz International Dance Theater presents "Urban Rhythms," a colorful survey of the traditional and folk performing arts of international cities and towns, on Saturday, April 13 at 8 p.m. at Cal State L.A.'s Luckman Theatre.

Artistic Director Anthony Shay presents and hosts a carefully crafted tour of dance and music, which originated in cities, featuring Spanish Flamenco, Argentine Tango and Persian court dances plus Arabic classical music from the courts of Andalusia and Damascus.

"Many of the dances we'll be presenting were popular in Middle Eastern courts or elegant hotel ballrooms in London or Paris, but their origins were far from elegant; they came from the back alleys. Nevertheless, like American jazz, the compelling rhythms and pure 'soul' they embody could not be ignored and the wealthy and powerful came to hear and see. The religious and moral authorities railed against the impurity and immorality of the tango, like the waltz before it. The Arabic muashshahat, a sung form of poetry, was condemned by literary purists for its inclusion of low class, sometimes erotic, language. But, through time they gained respectability and popularity with the middle and upper classes," explains Shay.

The dockside area of Buenos Aries gave birth to the Tango, but it wasn't until the dance became fashionable in Paris, London and New York that the native Argentine elite found it worthy to grace the elite ballrooms and hotels of Buenos Aires. Tango masters Alberto Toledano & Loreen Arbus, noted for their compelling choreography and brilliant footwork, will perform the powerful and sensual "dance of passion" with its ever-present sexual tension.

The fiery Flamenco originated in the southern Spanish province of Andalusia during the period of Islamic rule. Gypsies from the famous caves of Granada became its most important exponents. Roberto Amaral and his Fuego Flamenco will perform selections of the Flamenco repertoire.

In addition to Persian court dances well known in the courts of the Timurid, Saffavid and Qajar dynasties, the Avaz dancers will perform "Shateri," a dance composed of a blend of styles known as shateri and jaheli. This dance is associated with men from the teeming back alleys of Tehran and Isfahan, but it's popular with men and women from all classes. In the women's quarters, women would don their husbands hats and coats and perform this dance of supreme attitude.

Tying many of the elements of the program together, the 40 musicians and singers of Kan Zaman, the Arab classical orchestra, will perform the exciting rhythms of the muashshahat. It is a form of sung-poetry originating in Andalusia, but, after the expulsion of the Moors from Spain, it became popular wherever the Spanish refugees settled in North Africa and the Levant. Levantine celebratory music, sha'bi, with its infectious beat, will round out the program.

From its founding in 1977, Avaz has grown to become one of America's leading ethnic dance companies. The repertoire of its 50 performers includes traditional dance, music and song from Eastern Europe, the Middle East, Central Asia, North Africa and America.

Luckman Theatre, part of the Harriet & Charles Luckman Fine Arts Complex, is noted for its integrity in bringing innovative dance, music and theatre to Southern California.

Located at the junction of the I-10 (San Bernardino) and I-710 (Long Beach) freeways on the California State University, Los Angeles campus, Luckman's striking red brick structures house one of the newest performing arts theatres and fine arts galleries in Los Angeles. The fine arts gallery -- free to the public -- is open one hour prior to each theatre performance and Monday through Thursday and Saturday from noon to 5 p.m. For theatre and ticket information call (323) 343-6610.

Luckman Fine Arts Complex presents Avaz International Dance Theater.

Artistic Director Anthony Shay presents a carefully crafted tour of urban dance, featuring Spanish Flamenco, Argentine Tango and Persian court dance and Arabic music.

Luckman Theatre at Cal State L.A. Junction of the I-10 (San Bernardino) and I-710 (Long Beach) freeways.

Saturday, April 13 at 8 p.m.

$25/$22 for general; $12 for students with I.D. & seniors over 65; group and series prices available. Call (323) 343-6610.

Luckman information -- (323) 343-6610.

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