World Arts West
SF Ethnic Dance Festival

FESTIVAL DANCERS

Shabnam

DANCE ORIGINS: Middle East and United States
GENRE: Belly Dance Fusion
ARTISTIC DIRECTOR/CHOREOGRAPHER: Shabnam
First Appearance in SF EDF: 2007
Website: www.shabnamdancecompany.com

Persian American dancer/choreographer Shabnam is celebrated for her unique choreographies, dynamism, and imaginative, artistic approach to Middle Eastern dance. She formed Shabnam Dance Company to perform her interpretations of Near Eastern dance and to elevate the art form for presentation on the theatrical stage. All company members are apprentices and award-winning dancers from Shabnam Studio located in Oakland, CA.

2012 PERFORMANCE

TITLE: Way of the Sea – Progression
SOLOIST: Shabnam

To Iranians, bellydance is raghse-Arabi, a dance of endless variations and interpretations, emerging from one of the oldest forms of Middle Eastern dance. It’s believed to be rooted in ancient fertility ceremonies, and it’s performed at family and community celebrations throughout the Middle East to bring the blessing of procreation, children, and wealth.

Shabnam celebrates 21st-century independence within her beloved Persian tradition in this belly dance inspired by the Red Sea. In Way of The Sea - Progression the dancer’s rippling movement reflects the complex beauty of water, and the pace shows a dignified modern approach to a baladi progression, a three-part song that traditionally builds in energy. As the quiet movement of water builds to the broad sweep of waves, so does a young girl pass from insecurity to a woman’s self-confidence and a celebration of feminine sensual energy. Shabnam’s style is known for its physical rigor. Her custom-designed costume mirrors shimmering water and billowing waves and it accents her rapid, intricate hip and belly isolations.

2010 PERFORMANCE

Title: Way of the Sea – Progression
Soloist: Shabnam

To Iranians, bellydance is raghse-Arabi, a dance of endless variations and interpretations, emerging from one of the oldest forms of Middle Eastern dance. It's believed to be rooted in ancient fertility ceremonies, and it's performed at family and community celebrations throughout the Middle East to bring the blessing of procreation, children, and wealth.

Shabnam celebrates twenty-first century independence within her beloved Persian tradition in this belly dance inspired by the Red Sea. In Way of The Sea - Progression the dancer's rippling movement reflects the complex beauty of water, and the pace shows a dignified modern approach to a baladi progression, a three-part song that traditionally builds in energy. As the quiet movement of water builds to the broad sweep of waves, so does a young girl pass from insecurity to a woman's self-confidence and a celebration of feminine sensual energy. Shabnam's style is known for its physical rigor. Her custom-designed costume mirrors shimmering water and billowing waves and it accents her rapid, intricate hip and belly isolations.

2008 PERFORMANCE

TITLE: Demoiselle Crane
SOLOIST: Shabnam

Demoiselle Crane showcases Shabnam's signature modern belly dance fusion. Her choreography honors a small grey and white crane—a bird that migrates thousands of miles between East Asia and South Asia or Africa, and has a balletic dancing display. The dance begins with whirlwind spins and a billowing veil, as the bird begins its flight. Then—to the melody of a Turkish violin—the dancer invokes the balletic movements of the crane, using slow and flowing movements, and exaggerated arm gestures and body bends. Finally, as the crane completes her journey, Shabnam performs lightning-speed shimmies and hip undulations, to the pulsing rhythms of modern Egyptian percussion.

Demoiselle Crane was created and choreographed in 2007 by Shabnam, and this is its world premiere. Shabnam describes this dance as "Feathers, Fusion, Flair and Femininity." She designed, hand-sewed, and beaded her costume, finding inspiration in the crane's silver and white body and black neck markings. This choreography—based on the observation of an animal—is a distinctly western approach. Shabnam chose the crane to show how Middle Eastern dance is migrating to the future, and to show respect for femininity and athleticism of the Middle Eastern form.

2007 PERFORMANCE

TITLE: Flame - Calling of the Future
SOLOIST: Shabnam
MUSICIANS: Mark Bell, Ling Shien Bell, Pat Bogel

The type of belly dance that is seen most often is the cabaret style popular in Middle Eastern restaurants throughout the United States where curvaceous women dance in glittering costumes with exposed bellies. Mingling with feminist philosophy, belly dance has taken a particular stronghold amongst women in the United States; many see it as a means to express the sensuality and power of being a mature woman.

Soloist Shabnam, presents a belly dance fusion piece performed to modern Egyptian music. A predominantly self-taught dancer, her technique incorporates intense athleticism combining acrobatic movements, repetitive spinning, sweeping arm gestures, strong hip locks, and extended arabesques. In her Festival debut, Shabnam presents a deeply personal three-part suite called, Flame – Calling of the Future. The first piece uses a whirlwind of silk veils and dervish-inspired spinning to symbolize feminine joy and inner calling. The second piece explores the masculine energy within while using a sword, while the finale, demonstrates where hips and percussion unite, symbolizing the unification of feminine and masculine energies.

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