A true friend of Uzbekistan, passionate about the dance of Central Asian countries, known as “The Pioneer of Uzbek dance in America”, Professor Laurel Gray addressed the people of Uzbekistan with her practical recommendations and call TO STAY HOME.
In solidarity with the Uzbek nation in its fight against COVID-19, the founder of the Silk Road Dance Company Dr. Laurel Gray has hung the Uzbek National Flag on the rooftop of her house in Washington State.
Professor Gray asked Uzbek people to support the efforts of the Uzbek government, who responded quickly to avoid the further spread of COVID-19 in the country, to stay home and take good care of each other. She also wished a quick recovery for those infected with the virus and happy return to their families.
“Assalom Alaykum, Uzbekistan! Greetings from the State of Washington! You are in lock-down, and at 8 PM tonight our entire state will be on lockdown as well. It is a difficult time, but think about this way: it brought us all together. I have to compliment your President for his wise and proactive measures to cut off the connections and travel. Staying in might seem difficult and as a hardship, but actually it is a gift. It is a gift of time. We always say: if we only had time I would do this and that. If I had time, I would read a book, like this book – “Boburnoma”, a book about Uzbek history. Or if I had time I would ask my parents and grandparent what life was like when they were children. Or I would go to Samarkand, maybe after the restrictions are lifted. And I know you can do this, because in 1939 Uzbek people built Fergana Canal in 40 days. Today no one is asking you to go out and dig a canal. You just need to shelter a place with your friends, with your family and not go out. It is just amazing that this little virus has done so much to our lives, but it is actually positive: we can now see how we are all connected, we are all humans and we have to work together to stop the spread of the pandemic” – she said in her video addressed to Uzbek people.
Internationally recognized dance scholar, choreographer, performer, and costume designer, Laurel Victoria Gray specializes in women’s dances from Silk Road cultures and the Islamic World. Her scholarly articles have appeared in many publications including the Oxford University Press International Encyclopedia of Dance, the Encyclopedia of Modern Asia, the World Encyclopedia of Contemporary Theatre, and the Encyclopedia of Women in Islamic Culture.
Known as “the pioneer of Uzbek dance in America,” Gray has studied dance abroad, including two years at the invitation of Uzbekistan's State Academic Bolshoi Theater. She has lectured, researched, taught and performed dance on five continents, traveling to Egypt, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Uzbekistan, Australia, Qatar, Singapore, Canada, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, the UK and throughout the US. Gray works closely with diaspora communities and embassies to accurately present their cultures. Her ensemble, Silk Road Dance Company, performed at the very first White House Nowruz celebration.
Professor Gray has visited Uzbekistan about 15 times and has been a jury member at such international festivals and events in Uzbekistan as RAQS SEHRI (Magic of a dance), SHARQ TARONLARI and others.