Dr. Anthony Shay
Anthony Shay is a dancer and choreographer with over forty years of performing and creative experience in staging and choreographing dances and music from Eastern Europe, the Middle East, North Africa, and Central Asia. After years of study in Iran, Dr. Shay created the Aman Folk Ensemble in 1963 and served as artistic director until 1977. He currently serves as choreographer and artistic director of the AVAZ International Dance Theater, a group he founded in 1977. In this period he has choreographed over 150 works for both his own company and on commission to other groups. Anthony Shay earned a Ph.D. in Dance History and Theory at the University of California, Riverside in 1997. He currently holds the position of associate in dance at the same institution, where he teaches dances of the Iranian cultures sphere. He holds MA degrees in anthropology, folklore and mythology, and library science. He is five- time recipient of the NEA choreographic fellowship and was an NEA resident artist in La Napoule, France. In 1990, he was a seminar participant in "Latin American Music in a historical and social perspective" at the University of Texas, Austin. In 1995, Dr. Shay was again awarded a summer scholar position in the seminar "Re-imagining Societies: The Middle East and Central Asia" at Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire. On November 18, 1995, Shay received commendations from President Bill Clinton and the entire City Council of Los Angles for excellence of his choreographies, honoring his fortieth years as a choreographic artist. The Kaleidiscope Festival has designated him as Distinguished California Artist in 1997.
Dr. Anthony Shay has just been awarded a James Irvine Fellowship in Dance for 1998 as one of eight of the top choreographers in the State of California. The award is accompanied by a $30,000.00 fellowship for research. This research will be conducted around a core focus on Iranian art will enable Shay to visit important art collections and libraries in a number of different countries. This fellowship is the most coveted dance award in the United States. In addition, his book, Choreophobia: Solo Improvised Dance in the Iranian World, will be published by Mazda Press in early 1999.