Guardian: Child stars from war torn land set to inspire (A.Raine)
Child stars from war torn land set to inspire
By Andrew Raine
FAR from the bombed-out city of Grozny where they live in unremitting
conditions of war, 33 children are set to stop off at the Riverside
Studios on the latest leg of their European tour of breathtaking ancient
and dynamic dances.
Ramzan Akhmadov, former star of the Chechen National Ballet, directs
these exceptional children in the traditional dances of the Caucasus
region, from kaleidoscopic formations to acrobatics, somersaults and
Performing to the accompaniment of traditional drums and balalaika, the
children have been labelled the most remarkable message to come out of a
Dispersed by war to border camps, outlying villages and the basement
shelters of Grozny, victim support group, CPCD has helped to reunite the
dancers for Daimohk's 2003 European tour.
The children, cultural ambassadors of Chechnya, have already astonished
audiences with the vitality and sheer professionalism of their dancing
and musical talents - in the context of war, cultural affirmation is for
the children both a defence and a release, according to a spokesman for
Director Ramzan Akhmadov explains that Daimohk allows the children who
form the ensemble to express their emotion through music and dance:
through dance we explode, we let ourselves go. CPCD, who offer
support to victims of conflict in the North Caucasus through a variety
of projects, have partnered Daimohk since 2000.
CPCD's Camilla Carr, who travelled to Chechnya in 1997 to set up a
centre for traumatised children, was captured and held hostage in Grozny
for 14 months, and drew on her memories of young dancers from Grozny to
help her through her captivity.
The memory of the dignity and courage of the dancing children of
Chechnya helped me survive, she said.
Jane Birkin, of Je t'aime fame, was so inspired that within two days
of first seeing Daimohk she organized a sell-out performance at the
Théâtre du Soleil in Paris.
The production will show at Hammersmith's Riverside Studios from July
Thursday 3rd July 2003