Percussion as both art and community
Director of Music for Dance

Multi-instrumentalist and percussion-based community builder Shamou brings to UNC Charlotte the diverse experiences of a successful career. Beginning as a ballet dancer in his native Iran, he merged his dance expertise with musicianship to forge an exciting path, composing and performing electronic scores for renowned choreographers from across the globe. Since coming to the United States, his activities have ranged from composing, performing, and teaching at the internationally-known Bates Dance Festival in Maine to playing drums at Las Vegas raves.

In the Department of Dance, Shamou leads the accompanists who support technique classes and performs live for dance concerts. He teaches World Drumming, Music and Dance and Digital Technology Skills for Artists. He also, according to Department Chair Ann Dils, "brings a new consciousness about the importance of musical knowledge and imagination to the training of dancers and connects us with his professional collaborators, greatly enriching student experience."  

Among his collaborators is Department of Theatre Assistant Professor CarlosAlexis Cruz. Shamou has worked with Cruz to develop Picaro, a physical theatre piece for which Shamou created the score and in which he performs as a foil to Cruz, combining acrobatics, comedy, and masks. Cruz and Shamou workshopped Picaro in Charlotte, San Francisco, Mexico City, and the Baryshnikov Arts Center in New York City. An exploration of a young Guatemalan boy’s migration to the U.S., Picaro premiered at Children’s Theatre of Charlotte in April 2019, with future plans to perform in Mazatlan, Mexico, and at the US/Mexico border and beyond.

Another important collaboration was the development of PROW, a dance work by Mexican choreographer Claudia Lavista. Shamou and Lavista worked with UNC Charlotte dance students in the Fall 2018 semester on the piece, which uses sound and movement to address themes of migration, immigration, alienation, and identity. PROW was performed on the 2018 Fall Dance Concert and at the North Carolina Dance Educators Organization and the American College Dance Association conferences in the Spring 2019 semester. 

One of Shamou’s passions is teaching drumming and using drumming to form community, something he does with his World Drumming course, a collaborative offering of the departments of Music and Dance. He strongly believes that drumming "brings people of diverse backgrounds together, cultivating community through active collaboration and teamwork."