“The Poetic Allure of Persian Dance” with Laurel Victoria Gray




The Poetic Allure of Persian Dance

Finding Inspiration in History, Literature, and Costuming


Laurel Victoria Gray


Persian dance has enjoyed growing popularity over the past two decades, increasing during the COVID pandemic, when remote learning offered new opportunities for dance study, albeit under non-traditional conditions. Along with many positive benefits brought by this higher profile, current trends reflect a homogenization of movement vocabulary and costuming styles. By exploring the diversity of historical realities that shaped Persian culture, as well as extending the definition of “Persia” beyond the current political boundaries of Iran, performers can find fresh ideas for their dance.


In this talk, you will learn…

  • What is “Persian?”  Ethnic and Geographic Definitions
  • Lessons from Kindred Cultures in Persian History and Literature
  • Acknowledging a Debt Owed to Non-Persian Cultural Carriers
  • Loss of the Ustad – Shagird tradition: YouTube, Brutus?
  • The White Dress Phenomenon
  • Modern Stage Costumes vs. Historical Reality
  • Embracing Diversity in Persian Dance

Don’t miss this opportunity to explore the rich history and culture of Persian dance with Laurel Victoria Gray!

JOIN ONLINE LIVE with Q & A Session!
Sunday, July 17th
12 PM PDT / 3 PM EDT
+ 30 Days Streaming Access!


Upon registering you will receive an email with further information on when you will receive
links for live access and streaming replay . Please check your inbox and save the email!



About our presenter…

Laurel Victoria Gray

An award-winning choreographer, costume designer, scholar, and performer, Laurel Victoria Gray combines her degrees in history with decades of field research. She teaches Global Dance history at George Washington University. Gray is the 2021 recipient of Uzbekistan’s Xalqlar Do’stligi (Friendship of the Peoples) medal for her work in promulgating Uzbek culture. Her articles have appeared in the Oxford University Press International Encyclopedia of Dance, the Encyclopedia of Modern Asia, and the Encyclopedia of Women in Islamic Culture. Called “the pioneer of Uzbek dance in America,” Gray has studied dance in Central Asia and the Caucasus, including two years at the invitation of Uzbekistan’s State Academic Bolshoi Theater. In 1995, she founded the Silk Road Dance Company which performed at the first White House Nowruz celebration as well as in Uzbekistan, Qatar, Singapore, London, and Toronto. She was awarded the 2003 Kennedy Center Local Dance Commissioning Project Award and, in 2009, delivered the Fulbright Association’s Selma Jeanne Cohen International Dance Scholar Lecture. She recently presented papers at conferences of the Central Eurasian Studies Society (2019), Uzbekistan’s Academy of Sciences (2020), and the Dance Studies Association (2021). Gray was awarded an honorary doctorate in 2009 from the Uzbekistan State Institute of Art and Culture. She has adjudicated several cultural competitions, most recently the Lazgi International Dance Festival in Khiva, Uzbekistan. Her new book, Silk Road Legacy: Women’s Dances of Uzbekistan, will be published by Bloomsbury Academic Press in the autumn of 2022. She also contributed a chapter on several Silk Road dance cultures to Milestones in Dance History (2022), now available for pre-order.