In 1976, Tony Yazbek left his native country at the peak of his career as one of Lebanon’s top dancers and choreographers. Fleeing the civil war that broke out in Lebanon in 1975, he left behind his own creation and production company. After brief visits to France and Egypt where he produced original dance creations, Yazbek made a brief stopover in Montreal before settling in Ottawa.
Since his arrival in Canada, Tony has pursued his passion for the performing arts by creating, producing and presenting his artistic creations to audiences in Canada and abroad. The first theatre production “Natourat Al-Mafateeh” that brought together over 25 young Lebanese from Ottawa, launched Tony’s career in the arts in Canada. His vivaciousness has never dimmed since.
His achievements have made him the father of Lebanese performing arts in Canada and a pillar the local arts community. Tony’s pioneering spirit and broad vision of the place that Lebanese performing arts occupy in the cultural landscape of Canada have given breath to original works in Lebanese dance, music and theatre. His unwavering commitment to promoting Lebanese culture is obvious in the success of numerous and significant events and initiatives that he has undertaken over the last 40 years.
AWARDS AND PRIZES
1973 – Winner of the Studio El Fan Prize (Lebanon)
1993 – Recognition award presented by the Jordanian Embassy (in the name of the Hachemite Kingdom) for the promotion of Jordanian culture by the presentation of the operetta PETRA (Canada)
2009 – President’s Award presented by the Ottawa Chamber of Commerce for the exceptional achievements in the arts and dedication to the community (Canada)
2013 – Award presented by ACUGA (Arab-Canadian University Graduates Association) in recognition of achievements in theatre and dance (Canada)
2016- Award presented by the Council of Ambassadors of the Arab League in recognition of achievements in the arts (Canada)
- founder and Director of the weekly Lebanese and Arabic radio programs from 1978 to 1984
- founder of the monthly “Lebanese Variety Program” that airs monthly on Rogers Television since 1979
- founder and Director of St-Charbel’s church choir from 1979 to 1985
- founder and Director of the Al-Arz Lebanese Language School between 1980 and 1990
- president of the Ottawa Folk Arts Council from 1984 to 1990
- director of the Homelands/Les Patries multicultural festival from 1981 to 1992
- chairman of the Programming Committee of the Ontario Folk Arts Council from 1985 to 1989
- co-Chair of the City of Ottawa’s Leadership Committee from 1997 to 1999
- co-Founder and current Director of Carnival of Cultures
Al-Arz Lebanese Art Group
P.O. Box 7116, Station Vanier