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From: "Alice Lagnado" <alicelagnado@yahoo.co.uk>
Subject: Daimohk Chechen children's dance ensemble
Date: Thu, 2 Jul 2009

Daimohk Chechen childrens dance ensemble performs at Sadlers Wells

The Daimohk Chechen children's dance ensemble will visit Londons Sadlers Wells and other UK venues in July.

This group of 28 Chechen children aged 6-16 perform amazingly energetic dances to traditional music performed live by six musicians. Here's a clip: http://bit.ly/R0J5e


Chechens have survived two wars since the breakup of the Soviet Union. Many thousands of people have lived through terrible violence and chaos. Though the most recent war in the region is officially over, people are still recovering from this extended period of conflict.

Children were often turned into refugees and lived in tent camps or crowded accommodation, had their schooling stopped and lived in a state of constant uncertainty about what would happen to them and their parents.

For this reason, veteran Chechen folk dancer Ramzan Akhmatov set up Daimohk (which means 'ancestral land' in Chechen) in 1999, just before the most recent war began in Chechnya. He wanted to give a generation of children surrounded by violence a positive creative focus, and an outlet for emotional self-expression. Daimohk is completely non-political.

The children feel a great responsibility as cultural ambassadors to a war-torn region and their discipline and maturity is very striking. Rehearsals take place in a disused sports hall in Grozny though thanks to money raised on previous tours, a new dance hall has been started and is now nearly finished.

Daimohk regularly take part in high-profile dance competitions in Russia. Their participation in such events plays an important role in the vital reconciliation process between Chechens and Russians, whose relations have been severely damaged after many years of conflict.

The children of Daimohk show a human face to the Chechens, which helps to deconstruct the stereotype of Chechen fighters that remains in the minds of many Russians.

Ramzan Akhmadov, who has recently been made a deputy culture minister in Chechnya, will bring the ensemble to the Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod in Wales, to two UK schools, where the dancers will hold workshops for British schoolchildren, and to Sadlers Wells theatre in Islington. The ensemble are travelling to the UK by coach from Chechnya.

Notes for editors

To find out more about Daimohk, please visit http://peacebuildinguk.org/?page_id=4

Daimohk will perform at the Lilian Baylis Studio, Sadler's Wells, on

Sat 18th July, 7.15 pm, tickets 14 / 10 concessions and

Mon 20th July, 7.15 pm, fundraising night, tickets 30

Sadlers Wells,

Rosebery Avenue,

London EC1R 4TN

Nearest Tube: Angel or 19, 38 or 341 bus

Tickets available through the Booking Office: 0844 412 4300 (Mon-Sat 9am-8.30pm), Minicom (textphone): 020 7863 8015

The full dates for Daimohks visit to London, Wales and two schools are here: http://peacebuildinguk.org

Daimohks visit is being supported by the UK-based charity Peacebuilding UK, which is one of the very few international charities working in Chechnya. It is run by a young British man, Chris Hunter:


Peacebuilding UK also supports and implements a number of projects with our partner organisations, local groups and individuals in the North Caucasus region. Our main local partners are the Little Star NGO based in Chechnya, and the Centre for Peacebuilding and Community Development Russian Charitable Fund, which has offices in Chechnya, Ingushetia, North Ossetia and Dagestan. The work that we support includes psychosocial, peacebuilding and community development projects.

Media contacts

Please contact us for further information or to set up interviews with the dancers, their director Ramzan Akhmadov, or Chris Hunter, the young British man who runs the charity Peacebuilding UK. It is also possible (though must be pre-arranged) to film during their performance at Sadlers Wells.

Alice Lagnado [PBUK Trustee]
Mobile 0797 6969 590.