FOLLOW YOUR HEART Extravaganza Premieres Next Week!

By: Sep. 16, 2016

Evolution Dance Theatre (EDT) presents the world premiere of Follow Your Heart, a heart-stopping universal love story and multi-disciplinary spectacle featuring over 45 performers on stage, opens next week and runs September 22-25 at the Richmond Hill Centre for the Performing Arts. Tickets are on sale now by visiting or calling the box office at 905-787-8811.

Rehearsals are in full swing for this captivating dance-drama rooted in the rich traditions of the Middle East. Conceived, written and directed by EDT founder and artistic director Armineh Keshishian, this truly unique, cross-cultural event brings together diverse cultures in a dance-driven theatrical story while telling a universal tale.

Follow Your Heart showcases a myriad of dance styles - from traditional belly dance to jazz to hip hop and more - as well as a fusion musical styles - from Middle Eastern to African to Jazz and more, under the musical direction of Nicholas Stirling.

Set against the cultural mosaic of present day Toronto, show-stopping dancers and exceptional musicians, headed up by lead performers Teria Morada(Latin dance and Canadian gymnastic champion) and Mo Haiek (former member of Syria's Enana Dance Theatre), tell an inspiring love story of taboo and tradition. A modern Middle Eastern woman falls in love with a traditional Middle Eastern man and fights for her love against all odds, against her culture and age-old customs.

With a cast from as far afield as Brazil, Colombia, Cuba, Germany, Lebanon, Mexico, France and Syria as well as Canada and the United States, Follow Your Heart tantalizes the senses as it tells a story relevant to today's world.

A sampling of rehearsal photos by Tom Szabo can be seen here:

Some of the main musicians include Iraq-born Ahmed Moneka, a member of Toronto trio Moskitto Bar whose sound travels down Celtic, Middle Eastern, Balkan/Ukrainian roads; African-born percussionist Amadou Kienou, a drum master of Burkina Faso and Jivan Stepanian, musical director of Toronto's Horovel Armenian Folk Ensemble.

Keshishian notes, "My aim is to bring people and cultures together by focusing on our commonalities versus our differences. In light of current world events, Follow Your Heart is particularly important as it seeks to be a true representation of Middle Eastern people, not from a political or religious perspective, but from a cultural and social point of view. My work is influenced by the context of my upbringing: as a Christian raised in a Muslim country, I gained insight into these two different worlds. I seek to bring understanding that we are one: One heartbeat, One culture, One race."

Evolution Dance Theatre is a not-for-profit Canadian company that develops, promotes and performs original Middle Eastern-inspired multimedia and multidisciplinary spectacles to both entertain and provoke dialogue on social, spiritual and humanistic themes. Under the expertise of President and Founding Artistic Director Armineh Keshishian, the company has produced and brought to the stage four successful Middle Eastern-inspired shows in Toronto since 2006 including behind the Veil and EvolutionŠ of the human kind ("Here's how to put on a show!" - Toronto Star).