Resident & Guest Choreographers/Composers:
Choreographers Workshop Series
Ahmet Lüleci, The Dances of Turkey
A native of Turkey, is an accomplished folkdance teacher, performer, choreographer, and musician, as well as a researcher of Anatolian folk culture. Since his arrival in North America in 1985, he has been promoting the Turkish folklore all over the world, to amateur as well as professional groups. Ahmet has been performing Turkish folk dancing and music since the age of eight. At the age of 15, he became a dance instructor. He taught several ensembles in Ankara, Istanbul, Eskisehir, and Bursa.
Between 1973 and 1985, he participated in international dance festivals and competions throughout western and eastern Europe. In addition, he taught ensembles that appeared in more than 60 programs broadcast nationally in Denmark, France, Germany, the Netherlands, and Turkey. Ahmet also served as Director of Dances for HOY-TUR, long considered one of Turkey's leading folk dance associations.
In 1985, Ahmet's research on "The Culture in Southern Anatolia" won the first prize at the national competition held by "Youth Sport and Education Ministry." Since 1985 he has continued his work in the United States and Canada, Asia, Europe, and South America. In 1988, Ahmet became director of the Boston-based Kemençe Dance Ensemble. In 2001, as the Artistic Director of Collage International Dance Ensemble (formerly20Kemençe), Ahmet received the Dance Umbrella Boston Moves 2001 Award, a commission to create a world-premiere work for Boston audiences. Ahmet choreographed a dance suite for the Brigham Young University International Folk Dance Ensemble and had the troupe's costumes specially made and shipped from Turkey. Some of the other notable perofrming ensembles with which he has worked include the famed AMAN Folk Ensemble of Los Angeles (in 1991, Ahmet joined AMAN's artistic staff as resident choreographer), Mandala of Boston, Les Sortileges of Montreal, Vinok of Edmonton, Gehem of Ankara, Butfod of Bursa, and Folktur of İstanbul.
Baglama and davul are the folk instruments Ahmet most enjoys playing. Indeed, his college major was music, with specialization in voice. Ahmet's love of folksongs and fascination with folk dance led him to conduct scholarly research into the historical, social, and cultural background of the costumes and spoon dances from Turkey's Mediterranean coast. In 1997, Ahmet completed a second degree in Fine Arts, specializing in Graphic Design. Ahmet has taught a the major folk dance camps in the United States and Canada, including the San Francisco Kolo Festival and the Stockton Folk Dance Camp in California, and continues to teach workshops throughout the United States from his home-base in Boston, Massachusetts. Ahmet is co-founder and co-director of the annual World Music & Dance Camp at Cape Cod, Massachussetts.
Among Ahmet's publications are an exhaustive, 400-page folklore study on the folkdances of Turkey for which he was awarded First Place in the 1985 national competition in research on the folk dances by the Turkish Ministry of Youth, Sports, and Education.
Dances Ahmet has taught include Agir Govenk, Agir Halay, Arzu İle Kamber (Silivri) (Garaguna), Basso, Bablekhan, Çimençiçek, Delile, Drida, Enzele Reksi, Felek, Galamatia, Goltepe, Güvercin, İspanyol Kasabı, Kara Uzum, Karadeniz, Karşilama, Kelekvan, Kerekes Héjsza, Kina, Livan Öy, Mendil, Oğuzlu, Papatya, Rakkas, Roman, Samatya, Sevda Horonu, Siksara, Teşi-Düz-Halay, Uzun Kavak, Uzundere (Sahlan), and Yeni Hamam.
Click here to view Ahmet Lüleci's website
Robert and Jacqueline deWarren, Presidio Dance Theatre's ARTIST LAUREATE
Iranian Dances of the Qajar Court
* Meet the de Warren's on October 21.
Call our office for invitation: 415 561-3958
Distinguished amongst ballet directors for his high professionalism, backed by specialized study and over four decades of experience, Robert de Warren is about unique achievements he has brought the companies he has directed. Whether establishing new organizations or evolving imaginative policies for their development, fostering young talent amongst dancers and choreographers, building audiences or just spreading his passion for dance, de Warren's work is prolific and highly regarded.
Much has been written about the eleven years Robert and his wife, Jacqueline, spent in Iran from 1965 to 1976 when Dame Ninette de Valois sent him to become Ballet Master and his wife his assistant, to the National Ballet of Iran under the patronage of the Shah. They found a very basic setup with a school and some dancers at semi professional level. The Shah had ordered the construction of a new opera house, the Rudaki hall, which would open the year of his coronation. Mr. de Warren was asked to advise on final details. True to character, Robert brought the ballet to a high standard so that for the inauguration of the opera house, the company performed for the Shah, the Empress Farah and international guests. Through his brother in law, the Shah instructed Robert to research all mystic, tribal and ceremonial dances in the country.
The de Warrens, founded the National Folklore Society of Iran and the Mahalli Dancers of Iran who became ambassadors of Iranian culture and toured the world. Robert freely travelled the country with his assistants, cameraman and sound technician recording everything regional ethnic traditions. The theatrical performances were based on this documented research. He also created the national archives for all this material. He presented in Teheran, London and Washington, performing for President and Mrs Ford for the USA Bicentennial Ceremonies. In this capacity the de Warrens attended many state and court occasions and prepared numerous performances for the Shah's guests.
Robert had already experienced much animosity being organized towards the Shah, which made it obvious peace in Iran would not last. A year later the Shah invited Robert to create a special performance for a celebration at the summer palace. The Empress greeted Robert warmly and soon the Shah arrived. It was obvious he was ill. Violent manifestations were already apparent in the sprawling city. As it resulted, this was the last court ceremony before the Imperial family had to leave in exile. Robert de Warren enriched his already outstanding gifts with experiences that few others have had. For this entire civilization, he is a repository for Iranian classical and ethnic dance.
Since his years with the Royal Ballet at Covent Garden, Robert has developed a varied career as dancer, director, choreographer and designer. Dame Ninette de Valois (founder of the Royal Ballet), saw in the young dancer the gifts for directing and choreographing and encouraged his development from the outset. De Warren readily admits having learned his trade from this great lady. As a dancer with the Royal Ballet he soon learned the entire productions of the great classical repertoire and can, today, reproduce them in the most authentic versions. He has also created many original works performed around the world. (see OPUS)
At La Scala, Milan, where he was appointed by recommendation of Rudolf Nureyev, de Warren brought a new sense of discipline to a company notorious for the lack thereof. He changed the entire operating policies and promotion system for the dancers. He was the first director to bring American Choreographers to present full evenings of their works, such as Alvin Ailey and Paul Taylor. He also brought "Fall River Legend" by Agnes DeMille for the legendary Carla Fracci who previewd the performance at the Metropolitan Opera House with ABT in New York. De Warren's own creations at La Scala include an enlarged "A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM" which was the best selling ballet that season, COPPELIA, LA BOUTIQUE FANTASQUE, SOIREES MUSICALES and A YOUNG PERSONS GUIDE TO THE ORCHESTRA. He also collabotated with many international personalities first of which was Rudolf Nureyev, Riccardo Mutti, Andrea Gavazzeni who invited him to choreograph the dances in ADRIANA LECOUVREUR which La Scala inaugurated at the Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow. Franco Zeffirelli, Gianni Versace, Pavarotti, Mirella Frenni, have all shared the stage with his creations , as designers and performers. De Warren also insured the most notable Ballet Stars guested with his company. www.euroarts.com/script/whatsnew.php
His arrival at La Scala had been preceded by eleven years at the head of the Northern Ballet Theatre (who owe their name to him). This fledgling company became the major touring ballet in Britain and presented smaller versions of the classics as well as an eclectic repertoire that became its trade mark and basis of its enormous success. De Warren obtained the royal patronage of the Princess Margaret and Rudolf Nureyev, who had worked often with de Warren and frequently danced with the company, became ARTIST LAUREATE, a distinction no other organization has ever enjoyed. NBT performed over 200 shows a season all over the country and in London at the Sadler's Wells Theatre. Many international choreographers contributed to their reprtoire, notably: Birgit Cullberg, Fleming Flindt, Michael Corder, Geoffrey Cauley, and Gillian Lynne (Cats). Dame Alicia Markova assisted in coaching Giselle and Les Sylphides. De Warren himself choreographed many original works that had hundreds of performances all over Britain and Ireland and were later produced by companies in France, Italy, Hong Kong and USA.www.northernballettheatre.co.uk/history1976.html
Not happy to run a company with such commitments, de Warren, in his quest for new talent helped found the Northern Ballet School now in its 30th year. He also founded the National Ballet Academy in Montevideo, the Pre-Professional College Course at la Scala in association with the Cathoilic University, The National Folklore Society and College in Iran. Dancers and choreographers de Warren mentored are now themselves sought after directors and choreographers which gives this dedicated man a sense of fulfillment.
The de Warren's recently retired from leading the Sarasota Ballet in Florida. His creations are classical, contemporary, mystical or pure theatre, and his imagination brings together such disparate experiences, blending them to produce true and original works of art.
--Condensed from Corrado Letta, Rome, 2000
Click here to view Robert de Warren's website
NORBERTO MARTINEZ, Dances from Mexico, Argentina, Mayan
Norberto Martinez is Presidio Dance Theatre's Resident Choreographer of Mexican, Mayan and Argentinian Dances, Master Teacher, and popular performing Artist. He is DANCE OUT!'s lead teacher in PPAF's afterschool outreach program for underserved children in their schools. Norberto is the Founder, Artistic Director & Principal Choreographer of Folklórico Atlatonin, a co-production company under the umbrella of Presidio Performing Arts Foundation. Folklórico Atlatonin has performed for various community and academic organizations, and its first international tour included representing the dances of Mexico in China during the Beijing International Cultural and Tourism Festival in September 2007.
Mr. Norberto graduated from Instituto Mexicano de Artes and Instituto de las Bellas Artes of Mérida, Yucatán in Mexico, trained in classical ballet, folk, and modern dance. He developed a deep desire to promote the "magic" of the Mexican culture through dance, as an artist of Jorge Faz Dance Company and Ballet Folklórico de la Universidad de Yucatán for more than 15 years. He has had more than twenty years of experience performing, as well as choreographing for respected dance organizations throughout Mexico, South America, Europe and the United States of America. This summer, Mr. Norberto will share his passion for folk dance as an instructor at the Mission Cultural Center's dance program under the direction of José Léon and at Danzantes Unidos workshops under the direction of Maria Luisa Colmenarez.
Click here to view Norberto Martinez's website
M. Nejad, Resident Composer and Master Instrumentalist
Mohammad Nejad, a Persian-born master multi-instrumentalist, was born to a musical family in Tehran, Iran. As a young child, Persian classical music was passed dow n to him from his father. In Tehran he attended a special high school for musicians, later graduating from Fine Arts Academy in 1976, and in 1990 received a Bachelors of Fine Arts Musicianship and Performance from Tehran University, proficient in both the Western and Persian musical systems. While studying toward the completion of his degree, he was blessed with having master teachers of Persian classical music including Ostad Roushanravan, Ostad Sinaki, Ostad Jankook, Ostad Paayvar, Ostad Tavakol, Ostad Tahmasebiyan, Ostad Moosavi, Ostad Khoshdel and Ostad Baharlou. In the early 1990s he began recording for the Iranian motion picture industry. He composed for and performed with many music and dance ensembles in Iran.
Nejad came to the United States in 1995, he now resides in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Nejad plays a large number of instruments, including ney, zurna, Western flute, santur, kanun, oud, setar, dotar, tar, kemanche, violin, daf, dumbek, zarb, accordion and keyboards. He effectively uses Persian instruments to add a Persian influence to Western classical, jazz, blues, new age, and flamenco. He also performs traditional Persian classical music. He performs regularly with the acclaimed Bay area Central Asian dance company Ballet Afsaneh. He collaborates with many other musicians and ensembles. He has performed throughout Asia, Europe, and the United States, including most campuses of the University of California, the Palace of Fine Arts and the Ethnic Dance Festival in San Francisco, and the San Jose Center for t he Performing Arts. He teaches privately and through workshops.
Click here to view Mohammad Nejad's website
WAN-CHAO CHANG, Chinese Dance
Wan-Chao Chang, artistic director of Wan-Chao Dance, brings to her work a wealth of diverse training and experience. Her works are a blend of many virtuoso dance disciplines, giving them a unique character. Born in Taiwan of Indonesian Chinese parents, she received extensive classical training in both Western and Eastern dance and music, and taught ballroom, folk, ballet, and modern dance locally and internationally. Since arriving in the U.S. in 1995, she has performed with critically acclaimed companies as Ballet Afsaneh, Gamelan Sekar Jaya, Gadung Katuri Balinese Dance and Music, Westwind International Folk Ensemble, Harsanari Indonesian Dance Company, and Chinese Folk Dance Association. Chang holds a B.A. in Management from Feng Chia University in Taiwan, and a B.A. in Dance Ethnology as well as a M.A. in Interdisciplinary Arts from San Francisco State University. In 2008 she found Wan-Chao Dance, an ethno-contemporary dance company aims to create new works rooted from traditional arts. Her works have been selected for the Westwave Dance Festival, the Festival of the Silk Road, and the San Francisco Ethnic Dance Festival. http://www.wanchaodance.com