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