Evolution Dance Theatre to Present FOLLOW YOUR HEART, 5/8-11

Evolution Dance Theatre to Present FOLLOW YOUR HEART, 5/8-11

Evolution Dance Theatre (EDT) presents the world premiere of Follow Your Heart, a multi-media extravaganza with over 40 artists on stage that will take audiences on a wondrous journey into the human spirit, transporting them to a magical and mysterious world. With its spectacular costumes, compelling love story, gorgeous music and stunning dance - ranging from traditional belly dance to jazz to hip hop and more - Follow Your Heart tells an inspiring story of love and struggle, rooted in the rich traditions of Middle Eastern dance and culture. Conceived, written and directed by EDT founder and artistic director Armineh Keshishian, this captivating dance drama runs Thursday May 8 through Sunday May 11 at Harbourfront Centre's Fleck Dance Theatre.

With a special emphasis on the empowerment of women, Follow Your Heart tells the courageous tale of a modern Middle Eastern woman, Almaza, in love with Jivan, a traditional man, in modern-day Toronto. It is a love story that has universal appeal and embraces both taboos and long-established customs, a love story familiar to - and that connects - across cultures; an empowering and inspiring story that tantalizes the senses.

A culturally diverse global cast of over 40 artists - African, Arab, Armenian, Caribbean, European, Latin, North American, Persian - portray the struggle between contemporary norms and traditional values in this beautiful and passionate work. Follow Your Heart seamlessly combines Western contemporary dance forms and traditional Middle Eastern dance styles with theatre and live original music for a truly unique, cross-cultural event as it draws audiences into a world of beauty, mystery and passion.

Randolph Dance Theatre-trained singer-dancer and two-time Jr. Canadian Rhythmic Gymnastics Champion Teria Morada is Almaza and California dancer-choreographer Niraj Mehta, of top L.A. Bollywood dance companies Belly Twins and Bollywood Step, portrays Jivan. They will work with Michigan-based Rehearsal Director Kendra Ray who helped coach the gold media winning skating pair Meryl David and Charlie White on belly dance nuance for their win at the recent Olympics.

They are joined by a multi-faceted, multi-ethnic talented cast based in Toronto including multi-talented belly dancer Roula Said of Gypsy/Arabic funk band Nomadica as a spiritual leader, Erepuni (the dance ensemble of the Hamazkayin Armenian Cultural Association), a fusion drum ensemble showcasing master female Persian percussionist Naghmeh Farahmand as well as Native Canadian and African drummers, and many more.

Keshishian notes, "I am excited to bring audiences a transformative story that showcases the rich and colourful Middle Eastern traditions and culture that is so mysterious to many in the Western world. Follow Your Heart is a feast, not only for the eyes, but also the soul. We see how the East is different from the West - but by the time the tale is told, we realize we are not really that different, and that we are all connected." Keshishian's previous acclaimed productions for EDT includebehind the Veil and EvolutionŠ of the human kind ("Here's how to put on a show!" - Toronto Star).

Evolution Dance Theatre was founded in 2006 as a not-for-profit company that develops, promotes and performs original Middle Eastern-inspired multimedia and multidisciplinary spectacles to both entertain and provide dialogue on social, spiritual and humanistic themes, and to emphasize our similarities rather than our differences. For further information, visit

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