TORKOMADA is a not-for-profit organization that envisions the indigenous and folk dances of the Middle East and North Africa as an important, but neglected diplomatic tool in cultural diplomacy, especially in U.S.-Middle East relations. In 2016 and 2017, The Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, The NYC Department of Cultural Affairs, and the NY State Council on the Arts awarded TORKOMADA the Creative Engagement grant to host its first Middle Eastern and North African Dance Festival in NYC-RAQS WITHOUT BORDERS. Its mission is to save the traditional dances of the Middle East from extinction, most importantly, Raqs Sharqi, an Egyptian dance. The President-Torkom Movsesiyan, created the festival not only to strengthen and empower the Middle Eastern dance community in NYC, but also to foster a mutual understanding between the Middle East and the West. From 08/31/2017-09/02/2017 NYC will become the epicenter of cultural diplomacy through Raqs Without Borders dance festival. The festival will kick off with an opening gala show on 08/31/2017 at 7:30pm at the Univesity Settlement Thater in NYC. All participants will be able to register online and pay a fee for either a VIP package that gives them access to workshops, gala show, competition, and certificate of completion, or an individual workshop of their choice. Each day there will be different dance workshops at the American Center for Alexander Technique, Union Square with seven master instructors teaching various dance styles and choreographies. Each choreography, will demonstrate aspects of the lives of people from the Middle East where the dances originated; for example, raqs sharqi, a cane dance, finger cymbals, shaabi, Saidi, baladi, and drum solo.
Second Annual Middle Eastern and North African Dance Festival, RAQS WITHOUT BORDERS, from 08/31/17 to 09/02/17 in New York City
• Opening gala show on 08/31/17 at the University Settlement Theater, NYC from 7:30-9:30pm.
• Dance workshops on 09/02/17 from 12pm-5pm with a lunch break:
12-2pm: a sassy-classy oriental saidi master workshop, taught by Torkom Movsesiyan. Bring your own cane/stick!
2-3pm: Lunch break.
3-5pm: an Egyptian shaabi master workshop with Jacques Alasmar.
5-6pm: Dinner on your own.
• Competition and a closing gala show on 09/02/17 from 6:30-9:30pm at the American Center for the Alexander Technique:
First/second/third place: solo performer category to compete for King/Queen of Raqs Sharqi. First place winner of King/Queen of Raqs Sharqi will receive a full 2018 VIP package access.
ALL competition winners will receive a certificate!
• For more information on workshop price, VIP package, gala show tickets, and competition registration, visit www.torkomada.weebly.com