Folk Dance Federation of California, South, Inc.
International Dance Theatre
By Dick Oakes
THIS IS HISTORICAL INFORMATION ONLY
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The AVAZ International Dance Theatre was founded in 1977 under the artistic direction of choreographer Dr. Anthony Shay, and was formed by Heritage & Tradition, Inc., a non-profit educational, corporation dedicated to the promulgation of world folk culture. From its founding, AVAZ traveled locally, nationally and internationally presenting the dances, music, costumes, and customs of diverse regions of the world from the Balkans, Hungary, Croatia, Greece, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Azerbaijan, Iran, Russia, the area of Caucsia, North Africa, and Uzbekistan, among others.
The mission of AVAZ contained two important aspects: 1) preserving and performing traditional and folk dance and music from a wide variety of cultures and 2) educating the widest possible audience about these art forms and the societies and peoples they represent. AVAZ fulfilled this mission through performances by its professional ensemble of artists, both in Southern California and nationally, and through an extensive educational outreach program that served elementary, middle and high school pupils, college and university students, community organizations, and the general public.
In the view of Shay, the stage presentation of traditional / ethnic / folk dances, songs, music, costumes, and customs required authentication and documentation. This was done through hours of dedicated and intensive research in the form of bibliographic searching, studying scholarly books and articles in a variety of languages, viewing and reviewing video cassettes, attending master classes at home and abroad, traveling abroad to visit museums, and interviewing knowledgeable performers and scholars. Due to this exacting research, AVAZ was highly respected in the artistic and academic community for its attention to authentic detail and nuance in movement, sound, and costuming.
From 1954, Shay had amassed an impressive research library containing thousands of rare works on costume history and production, dance, music, and ethnography, all of which were utilized in the design and production of many of the costumes, sounds, and dances found in a typical AVAZ evening.
From the beginning, AVAZ maintained intensive relationships with the ethnic communities whose traditions the company portrayed on stage, and many of the company's board members and performers came from these communities.
Spring Concert, 1979
Dances and Music of the Silk Road, 1999
Because most of Dr. Shay's works were intended for repertory companies, they received multiple performances, sometimes more than a hundred times. Im Anush Daviq, an Armenian choreography he composed in 1979, was a permanent part of the AVAZ repertoire for many years and received at least 200 performances during that time period. Following are some of the dances and suites that Dr. Shay choreographed for AVAZ.
NAME AREA YEAR Raqs-e Ayineh Iran 1997 Raqs-e shadi Iran 1997 Armenian Suite Armenia 1996 Raqs-e ghuri Tajikistan 1996 Çiftetelli Suite Ottoman Turkey 1995 Dabka Suite Jordan 1995 Ferghanin usuli Uzbekistan 1995 Mouashshahat Lebanon 1995 Dances of the Ghawazi Egypt 1994 Ghawazi Dance Egypt 1994 Tak-NAVAZi Iran 1994 Usul-e Samarqandi Uzbekistan 1994 Dances of Bojnurd Iran 1993 Kartuli Georgia 1993 Raqs-e mojassameh Iran 1993 Taverna III Greece 1993 Bazi-ha-ye namayeshi Iran 1992 Dances of Split Croatia 1992 Dances of Posavina V Croatia 1991 Azerbaijan Suite III Azerbaijan 1990 Dances of Pokuplje Croatia 1987 Căluşari Romania 1986 Kurdish Suite Iran/Iraq 1986 Running Sets II USA 1986 Dance of Qaraqanah Tunisia 1985 The Dancing Out Hungary 1985 Dance of Qajar Court Iran 1984 Dances of Šumadija IV Serbia 1984 Balun II Croatia 1983 Kochari Armenia 1983 Running Sets I USA 1983 Dances of Baluchistan Iran 1982 Dasmali Azerbaijan 1981 Ballos from Sifnos Greece 1980 Dances of Torbat Jam Iran 1980 Čoček Serbia 1980 Motreban Iran 1980 Persian Gulf Suite Iran 1979 Dances of Posavina IV Croatia 1979 Qazaqi III Azerbaijan 1979 Shateri I Iran 1979 Banat Suite III Serbia 1978 Im Anush Daviq Armenia 1978 Raqs-e Chupi Iran 1978 Katta Uyin Uzbekistan 1978 Bandari (Persian Gulf) Iran 1977 The following were choreographed for AMAN Folk Ensemble and later re-choreographed for AVAZ. Kraljice Croatia 1972 Linđo Croatia 1969 Thracian Suite Bulgaria 1968 Dances of Bukhara Uzbekistan 1967 Bunjevačko Momačko II No. Serbia 1966 Katanka Serbia 1965 Dances of Eastern Serbia Serbia 1964 Dajčovo Horo II Bulgaria 1963 Šop Suite Bulgaria 1963