by Paula Citron
Choreographer Sashar Zarif wears two hats. He is a passionate creator and performer, but he is also a formalist attempting to codify the basic elements of the traditional and ritualistic dance language of Persia and Asia Minor which he calls Saghi.
Zarif was born in Azerbaijan and his ravishing new work Meeting With Saghi reflects both his old world and his new. The male dancer in modern dress is set against three women in traditional Asia Minor costumes who represent his longing for a time past or an ideal future. Throughout the dance, the four undergo a series of very emotional encounters, and we see loss, despair and perhaps even hope.
Keiko Kitano, Esther Chabot and Natalie King were consummately feminine in their Saghi dance vocabulary, while Zarif himself was very impressive in his Whirling Dervish spins and Saghi muscle isolations. Pirouz Yousefian’s original score was sumptuous.
It was a very moving and very exotic dance piece.
From the Betty Oliphant Theatre, I’m Paula Citron, arts reviewer for CLASSICAL 96.3 FM.