Laurel Gray

Laurel Gray
Adjunct Professor of Global Dance History,
Theatre & Dance Program
[email protected]
Silk Road Dance


Internationally recognized dance scholar, choreographer, performer, and costume designer, Laurel Victoria Gray specializes in women’s dances from Silk Road cultures and the Islamic World. Her scholarly articles have appeared in many publications including the Oxford University Press International Encyclopedia of Dance, the Encyclopedia of Modern Asia, the World Encyclopedia of Contemporary Theatre, and the Encyclopedia of Women in Islamic Culture.

Known as “the pioneer of Uzbek dance in America,” Gray has studied dance abroad, including two years at the invitation of Uzbekistan's State Academic Bolshoi Theater. She has lectured, researched, taught and performed dance on five continents, traveling to Egypt, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Uzbekistan, Australia, Qatar, Singapore, Canada, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, the UK and throughout the US. Gray works closely with diaspora communities and embassies to accurately present their cultures. Her ensemble, Silk Road Dance Company, performed at the very first White House Nowruz celebration.


2018  Khiva Uzbekistan "Magic of Dance" International Festival Jury Member
2016  London Open Central Asian International Festival Award
2013  Dance Metro DC Choreography Commissioning Project Award
2011  Toronto Tirgan Iranian Arts Festival “Arash” Award
2009  Fulbright Association International Dance Scholar Lecture
2006  Metro DC Dance Awards ''Excellence in Costume Design''
2007  Uzbekistan Ministry of Culture Recognition
2005  Embassy of  Uzbekistan, Award for Strengthening US – Uzbek Cultural Ties
2003  International Academy of Middle Eastern Dance Best Choreographer Award
2003  Kennedy Center Local Dance Commission Project Award
1999  International Academy of Middle Eastern Dance Best Ethnic Dancer Award
1997  Samarkand Sharq Taronalari International Music Festival Jury Member

Current Outside Employment

Professor Gray is the Artistic Director of Silk Road Dance Company, which she founded in 1995. She is the founder of Uzbek Dance and Culture Society which presents the annual Central Asian Dance Camp.

Major Concert Works

2018   Wedding in Bukhara
2016   SHAHNAMEH: Adventures from the Persian Book of Kings
2015   Swede on the Silk Road
2013   Bollywood Fever
2009   Raqiset Shaabia: Folkloric Dances of the Arab World
2008   Legends of the Silk Road
2006   The Golden Road to Samarkand
2005   Haft Paykar: Seven Beauties
2003   EGYPTA: Myth, Magic, and Mystery
2001   Remembering the Legends: 3,000 of Women on the Silk Road


BA Occidental College
MA University of Waterloo
Doctoral Candidate University of Washington
PhD Uzbekistan State Institute of Art and Culture Honoris Causa