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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