Persian, Persian and Turkish classical singing
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Robyn Friend teaches dancing and singing in the Los Angeles area, and is available to travel for special workshops or private lessons. She is also available to choreograph dances for your performing group. Among the groups for which she has produced choreographies are the AMAN Folk Ensemble (aka, AMAN International Music and Dance Company) of Los Angeles, California, the Duquesne University Tamburitzans, and the Het Internationaal Danstheater of Amsterdam. Her choreographies have received rave reviews in the Los Angeles Times and other journals.
A first-generation Bulgarian-American, Robyn is a scholar of Near Eastern and Balkan linguistics, folklore, and ethnology, with a particular emphasis on the cross-influences of Turkish, Iranian, and Balkan culture. Robyn designs and makes all of her own costumes, and is available for consulting on design and materials. Trained by Marie Jose Blom, she also is a teacher of Pilates-based body conditioning for dancers.
Robyn has given hundreds of performances as a solo singer and dancer. Her singing repertoire includes the classical music of Iran and Turkey, traditional songs from the Near East and the Balkans, Gypsy music, and other European and American repertoire. Her dance repertoire includes Qajar dancing, an Uzbek dance in the Ferghana style, and a Tajik dance.
She has performed in the U.S., Canada, Europe, and the Middle East. She continues her musical studies with noted traditional masters, learning by rote in the traditional method. Research trips abroad have been supplemented by years of work with local ethnic communities. She is continually looking for opportunities to refine her dance technique and styling, and to add to her repertoire.
Other artistic endeavors include painting in oils, designing floral arrangements, costuming, creation of "wearable art," and acting.
Robyn has a Ph.D. from UCLA in Iranian languages. Her doctoral dissertation was on the Kurdish dialect spoken in Suleimaniye, Iraq. Robyn has studied several languages, including Iranian and Turkic dialects: Persian, Turkish, Suleimaniye Kurdish, Russian, French, Bulgarian, Azeri Turkish, Uzbek, Chaghatay, and Ottoman Turkish. Dr. Friend visited the Soviet Union in 1988, as a guest of the Soviet Space Research Institute (IKI).
She has dozens of publications to her credit, in fields ranging from space exploration to the Iranian community in Los Angeles, including:
- "Contemporary Contexts for Iranian Professional Musical Performance." Los Angeles, City Roots Festival, May 1987 (with Neil Siegel and Morteza Varzi).
- Ballooning on Mars: A Description of the TITAN Mars Balloon Model and a Discussion of Initial Results. July 1987 (with Thomas Heinsheimer).
- Concepts for Autonomous Flight Control for a Balloon on Mars. NASA conference, Huntsville, Alabama, November 1988 (with Thomas Heinsheimer and Neil G. Siegel).
- Presenting Ethnic Dance on the Stage, 1992 UCLA Dance Ethnology Forum.
- Dance in Iran. An entry in The Encyclopedia of Iran (1993).
- Iranian Music Culture in Los Angeles World Music Institute, New York (with Neil G. Siegel).
- The Exquisite Art of Persian Classical Dance. First published in "Habibi, A Journal for Lovers of Middle Eastern Dance and Arts," volume 15, number 2, Spring 1996, pages 6-8.
- Status and Preservation of Iranian Dance: Cultural Factors Influencing the Iranian Attitude Concerning Dance. Paper presented at the 1st International Conference on Middle Eastern Dance, Orange Coast College, California, 16-18 May 1997.
Dr. Friend has a fine CD recording of Turkish folk music and Persian classical music as well as a video of her dances and choreographies. These are available on her website. She currently teaches classes in Persian dance.
Dances Robyn has taught include Deylaman, Hajjiani, Kâvkâz, Kolâh Makhmali, Qâjâriyeh, Qâjâriyeh (Group Dance), Majnun, and Layla.