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Hidden Yearning
University of St. Thomas Baumgaertner Auditorium
Saint Paul, MN
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Event

Hidden Yearning

Hidden Yearning: A Story of the Healing Power of Art and of Forgiveness by Artistic Director and Executive Producer Leili Tajadod Pritschet.

With artistic collaboration of Dr. Laurel Victoria Gray and The Silk Road Dance Company of Washington, D.C.

Presented by the University of St. Thomas as part of the 2009 Sacred Arts Festival, A Call to Prayer: A Global Yearning

All performances are open captioned and with ASL and AD (AD on Sunday performances).

Hidden Yearning is a dramatic and spiritual reflection on the Islamic call to prayer, based on Leili Tajadod Pritschet's experience as a dancer in pre-revolutionary Iran, her arrest and torture by the Ayatollah's regime, and escape to the U.S. Leili's story is told through a multi-media presentation of Persian classical dance, visual arts, live music, and the poetry of Rumi.

The heart of the story is as old as humanity - art heals, and forgiving others allows us to live our lives fully regardless of what others have done to us. It is the beauty of the ancient court traditions of Persian classical dance, the poetry of Rumi, the resonance of the haunting call to Islamic prayer, told through Islamic eyes and imagery, to help us all understand our connectedness.

Hidden Yearning is a true story of resilience and recovery from trauma, but it is told through metaphors and beauty, for it is a story intended to buoy us as we all struggle with conflict and disappointments in our lives. Leili Tajadod Pritschet's story of her physical and emotional recovery from the disabling damage that was inflicted by the Ayatollah Khomeini's police, although wrenching, is one of healing and forgiveness. Although Leili's story is specific to her situation as an Islamic artist who is fighting to preserve an art form, conflict, pain, and the redemptive process of healing and growth are universal.

Once in the United States, Leili sought counseling at the Center for Victims of Torture. Through the help of the therapists there, she regained the confidence to create and to perform. Disabled by those who had imprisoned her, Leili sought the artistic support of VSA arts of Minnesota. Her personal understanding of dancing with a disability led Leila to work closely with VSA arts of Minnesota and to cast disabled performers in her show.

Hidden Yearning is a tale of resilience and recovery, not only for Leili personally, but for an entire art form. Persian classical dance dates to 2000 B.C., paralleling the birth of Mithraism, and it is devoted to celebrating spirituality and life. Dance flourished along the trade routes as cities developed and a refined court culture emerged. It is this gentle, expressive dance that was deemed decadent by the Khomeini's regime and they systematically worked to destroy the dance style by imprisoning, and often killing, those who performed it. Leili was the principal dancer with the Iranian national dance company and being a very public advocate for dance, was targeted by the regime in 1979.

Leili is now one of the few true classically trained dancers still alive. Her choreographies will be performed by Minnesota dancers who have trained extensively with her and by the Silk Road Dance Company of Washington, D.C. The mission of the Silk Road Dance Company is to create "cultural understanding through beauty and delight." The company frequently performs for state department functions. They recently performed at the 2009 Here I Stand Awards, which honored Judith Jamison of Alvin Ailey Dance Theater. For more information about the troupe, please visit   www.silkroaddance.com

Sponsors
This production is made possible with grants from the Minnesota State Arts Board and the Metropolitan Regional Arts Council, with additional support from the University of St. Thomas, The Center for Victims of Torture, and the United Nations Association of Minnesota.


Parking Information
University of St. Thomas has various parking lots located near the Brady Education Center. The nearest access to these parking lots is west of the intersection of Cretin Ave S and Grand Ave. Lots marked on the campus map with a red or yellow dot are available for parking.

The Baumgaertner Theater is located in the Brady Education Center.

For a map of the St. Paul campus, visit this link: Brady Education Center(#31)

Additional Information
Open Captioning, Audio Description (AD at Sunday performances) and ASL (American Sign Language) Interpreting are provided.

Discussion

Location

University of St. Thomas Baumgaertner Auditorium
Cretin Ave S & Grand Ave
Saint Paul, MN 55105
United States

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Kid Friendly: No
Dog Friendly: No
Non-Smoking: No
Wheelchair Accessible: No

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