Fadi Khoury’s FJK DANCE will preview the company’s new, groundbreaking multimedia performance and art installation UnTold at the Hudson River Museum Summer Amphitheater, 511 Warburton Avenue Yonkers, NY, 10701 on Saturday, July 14 at 7pm. FREE.
UnTold layers ancient Middle Eastern aesthetics with contemporary ballet and ballroom movements, while incorporating sculpture and graphic design. The work aims to shed light on the hidden beauty of Middle Eastern culture, at a time when stereotypes govern our perceptions. Inspired by Arabic poetry, Al Mu’alaqat (a set of seven poems) is transformed into projections and theater sets. The designed Arabic written words dance and interconnect with the performers on stage.
Since 2014, Fadi Khoury’s FJK DANCE has used “fusion choreography” to blend a distinctive mix of styles including Argentine tango, Middle Eastern movement, classical ballet and ballroom dance. FJK Dance programs are seen as an opportunity to communicate peace, diversity, tolerance and harmony, in support of cross-cultural dialogue. Previous FJK Dance performances include New York Live Arts, Jacob’s Pillow, Battery Dance Festival and Dumbo (NY), as well as international performances in China, Lebanon and Turkey.
UnTold is a project conceived in two parts: the audience will walk through sculptures and paintings inspired by the pre-Islamic Arabic poetry, and then enter into the performance space to attend an all-new FJK DANCE fusion dance choreographic work. The shape and movement of Arabic calligraphy serves to inspire the dancers’ movement. Arabic written words will dance, and dancers will interact with them. Egyptian percussionist and composer Hossam Ramzy provides the music for UnTold with his singular mix of Middle Eastern melodies and American Jazz. He hopes that his unique arrangements will lead Western audiences to a better understanding and appreciation of Middle Eastern music.
“At FJK DANCE, we believe in the unique fusion of culture and dance. The endless possibilities of experimenting with the fundamentals of various forms of dance, from classical ballet to ballroom, from Middle Eastern to jazz–we combine the essentials of each to create our own language. We push the boundaries of styles and stereotypes in dance, by devoting the purity of human movement to the music.”
UnTold is supported by the CUNY Dance Initiative (CDI), a residency program that opens the doors of City University of New York (CUNY) campuses to professional NYC choreographers and dance companies. FJK Dance has been awarded a 2018-19 residency at the Gerald W. Lynch Theater at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice in Manhattan for two weeks (9/2/2018 – 9/15/2018). This residency offers a rare opportunity for FJK Dance to define all the technical and creative details for future touring of the work, especially in the US. The theater space is not only available for worklight rehearsals, but also for technical production including lighting, projection, and set design. The technical support from the theater includes production staff to help study, test and confirm the practicalities of UnTold considering its visual arts and installation base in addition to the theatrical dance performance. The residency will culminate in a public performance.
Fadi J. Khoury was born in Baghdad, Iraq, surrounded by the folkloric music and dance of Arab culture. His father was Artistic Director of the National Iraqi Ballet, and through his father Fadi was exposed to diverse approaches to dance in the Assyrian, Syriac, and Bedouin dances of the Middle East.
At the age of thirteen he moved to Beirut, Lebanon, where he trained in classical ballet and folkloric dance, and also in modern, jazz, and ballroom dance. By 17 he was dancing professionally with Rahbani Musical Theater while studying at the Lebanese Fine Arts University. In 2005, Fadi joined the Caracalla Dance Theatre, touring the Middle East and North Africa. He moved to the USA in 2009, and performed with Caracalla at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC. Awarded a scholarship to the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater in NYC, he collaborated with distinguished choreographers such as Gary Pierce, Earl Mosley and Elisa Monte.
Fadi’s versatility and passion for dance allowed him to establish a career as lead instructor and choreographer at the Arthur Murray Dance Center in NYC. He placed first in Top Teacher awards from Arthur Murray International from 2009 to 2013.
In 2014, inspired by a successful collaboration with Sevin Ceviker, he created his own company where he could continue to refine his distinct personal style.
FJK DANCE co-founder Sevin Ceviker also serves as Company Manager and principal dancer. Born in Istanbul, she trained in classical ballet at an early age, and while still a student performed professionally in Giselle, Nutcracker, La Bayadere and Sleeping Beauty, to name a few. In 1997 she was given the opportunity to study at the Alvin Ailey School in New York. At Marymount Manhattan College she explored an array of dance forms, beginning the eclectic multi-cultural approach that has since characterized her work.
After graduation Sevin performed with a number of companies specializing in diverse forms from modern dance to classical Chinese. In 2006 she joined the Martha Graham Dance Company where she spent the next six years performing solo and chorus roles around the world.