Monday, August 13, 2007

July 25, 2007 Hosting Artists at Home

Today we play host to a group of artists met during the July 11th celebration marking the 50-year anniversary of the current Ismaili Imamate in Porshienev (see archived post).

Fakhriddin Alinazarovich performed traditional dance at the event. We have invited him to participate in the TDI project, asking him to allow us to videotape his work and interview him about his experiences as a dancer. He has invited several musicians to come and accompany his presentation at our homebase in Khorog. We are also delighted to have one of our dance teachers, the many talented Mahingul Nazarshoeva as a guest for the event.

Having an event take place in our own house was both easier and more difficult. It was a luxury to set up recording equipment in advance, and decide on placement for the performance, rather than scrambling within the confines of the Pamiri houses during our visits in the field. And the downside? We discover a renewed sense of appreciation for the work and coordination it takes to host and feed a party of visitors in a traditional Pamiri house. Hosting would absolutely be incomplete without providing a full meal and many cups of tea. Here are a few examples of kitchens that have hosted the team. Our house Khorog is fairly well equiped in comparison, so we felt that in all fairness we should rise to the challenge.

As Fakhriddin and the musicians arrive we have an interesting discussion. Many of the musicians that have come to help him out today as accompanists are prominent professional touring artists. They are now increasingly in demand internationally. There are considerations for their participation in a video taping session, due to various contractual obligations. A lively and revealing discussion of the parameters of the TDI project, intellectual property issues, and the local arts management environment ensues. The entire discussion is very interesting and positive, and certainly deserving of further investigation. It is also interesting to me personally that the Badakhshani musicians have some degree of artistic representation, and are aware of the issues, however this same sensibility rarely extends to dance. Either on the part of presenters/arts management or the dancers themselves. This is not a local phenomenon by any means, as we see examples of this contradiction throughout the performing arts industry worldwide. All is eventually ironed out to everyone’s satisfaction and Fakhriddin presents two formal choreographies that we videotape, with the musical accompanists providing a supporting role, Mahingul on percussion. He then indulged Will Sumit and Maruf Noyoft, our two male team members, by giving them an impromptu lesson in Pamiri dance techniques. These types of exchanges have really enhanced their dance knowledge and ability to participate in the various events, as they are invariably called up to dance on most occasions. Maruf, although originally from Badakhshan, spent most of his formative years growing up in Dushanbe concentrating on his music. His skills in traditional dance are only just starting to bloom. I am reminded through his experience of how easily a dance tradition can be lost, but also how empowering it is to reconnect with ones own heritage. Team members Dilyrabo and Nasiba proceed with the interview with Fakhriddin. And the meal? We managed to make a creditable job of it, all things considered.