New York Theatre to honour Magda Saleh in celebration of Egyptian dance

Ahram Online , Saturday 10 Mar 2018

Egypt's renowned prima ballerina Magda Saleh will be honored during the event 'From the Horse's Mouth' in New York

Magda Saleh
Egypt's prima ballerina Magda Saleh. R: Saleh in a leading role of 1970 Paquita (Photos: courtesy of Magda Saleh)

Between 13 and 18 March, New York's Theatre at the 14th Street Y will organise an event dedicated to showcasing Egyptian dance in all its forms and traditions.

As part of the the theatre's 'From the Horse's Mouth' series, the upcoming event will shed light on and honour Egypt's first prima ballerina Magda Saleh through a variety of events.

Saleh, who has established herself in New York, is a graduate of the Bolshoi Academy of Ballet in Moscow and Cairo's Academy of Arts in Egypt. She is also a former dean of the Higher Institute of Ballet and a founding director of the New Cairo Opera House (1988).

Saleh has kept strong links with Egypt and is active in supporting and promoting Egyptian artists in the United States, particularly classical musicians.

The event will also include special film screenings.

The documentary film A Footnote in Ballet History (2016) by the Egyptian Paris-based award-winning director Hisham Abdel-Khalek will be screened on 13 March. The film captures the important years of Egypt's ballet through Saleh’s presentation.

Another film titled Egypt Dances (1977), which is narrated by Saleh, will be screened on 17 March.

According to the event's promotional material, the film is a unique blending of movement and storytelling, presenting rare film footage, videos and multimedia about Egypt's dance.

"In this a groundbreaking documentary, Magda Saleh travels the length and breadth of Egypt to create a visual record of the numerous indigenous dance forms throughout the country," according to the organisers of From the Horse's Mouth.

The organisers add that Saleh's influence and impact on countless areas of cultural life in Egypt and the USA serves as a conduit for the celebration of Egyptian dance.

"Over 30 dancers, musicians, historians and choreographers will participate in this special event. The sharing of stories, memories, anecdotes, and dance will form the special tapestry that is a From the Horse's Mouth production."

The participants, whether at the venue itself or through video footage, will include Walid Aouni, dancer/choreographer and founder/director of the Cairo Modern Dance Theatre Company; Catherine Batcheller, former soloist, San Francisco Ballet; former principal, Stuttgart Ballet and Birmingham Royal Ballet; Nadia Habib Eskinazi, founding member and soloist, Cairo Ballet Company; Nimet Habachy, New York icon and long-time host of WQXR classical music station; Diana Hakak of the Bolshoi Five, founding principal ballerina at the Cairo Ballet Company (1966).

Also participating are Adhem Hafez, choreographer, composer, performer, founder and programme director of HaRaKa and artistic director for the TransDance festival series; Nader Hamed, former dancer at the Cairo Ballet Company and choreographer; Fadi J. Khoury, artistic director, FJK Dance; Ati Metwaly, award-winning journalist and Arts & Culture editor of Ahram Online; as well as dancers Kendra Dushac, Julia Kulakova, and Lindsey Miller, among others. 

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