Dancers on a piece of ceramic from Cheshmeh-Ali (Shahr-e-Rey), Iran, 5000 BC now at the Louvre
Dancers on a piece of ceramic from Cheshmeh-Ali (Shahr-e-Rey), Iran, 5000 BC now at the Louvre
17th century Persian women dance in a ceremony in Iran
17th century Persian women dance in a ceremony in Iran

Dances in Iran or Iranian dances (Persian:رقص ایرانی) are dance styles indigenous to Iran. Genres of dance in Iran vary depending on the area, culture, and language of the local people, and can range from sophisticated reconstructions of refined court dances to energetic folk dances.[1] The population of Iran includes many ethnicities, such as Kurds, Azerbaijanis, Turkmen, Jews, Armenian, Georgian peoples, in addition to numerous Iranian tribal groups which can be found within the borders of modern-day Iran.[1] Each group, region, and historical epoch has specific dance styles associated with it.[1] Raghs (also spelled as Raqs) is the Arabic word for dance, and is almost exclusively the word used for dance in Persian, as the Persian word for dance, paykubi, is no longer in common usage. It is also the word in Azerbaijani for dance (Reqs). The Kurdish word for dance is Halperke, and the Lurs from Lorestan use the word Bākhten (or Bāzee) for dance.[2]

History

The people of the Iranian plateau have known dance in the forms of music, play, drama or religious rituals and have used instruments like mask, costumes of animals or plants, and musical instruments for rhythm, at least since the 6th millennium BC. Cultural mixed forms of dance, play and drama have served rituals like celebration, mourning and worship. And the actors have been masters of music, dance, physical acts and manners of expression. Artifacts with pictures of dancers, players or actors were found in many archaeological prehistoric sites in Iran, like Tepe Sabz, Ja'far Abad, Chogha Mish, Tall-e Jari, Cheshmeh Ali, Ismaeel Abad, Tal-e bakun, Tepe Sialk, Tepe Musian, tepe Yahya, Shahdad, Tepe Gian, Kul Farah, Susa, Kok Tepe, Cemeteries of Luristan, etc.[3]

The earliest researched dance from historic Iran is a dance worshiping Mithra (as in the Cult of Mithras) in which a bull was sacrificed.[4] This cult later became highly adhered in the Roman Empire. This dance was to promote vigor in life .[5] Ancient Persian dance was significantly researched by Greek historian from Herodotus of Halikarnassos, in his work Book IX (Calliope), in which he describes the history of Asian empires and Persian wars until 478 BC.[5] Ancient Persia was occupied by foreign powers, first Greeks, then Arabs, and then Mongols and in turn political instability and civil wars occurred. Throughout these changes a slow disappearance of heritage dance traditions occurred.[5]

Religious prohibition of dancing in Iran came with the spread of Islam, but it was spurred by historical events.[5] Religious prohibition to dancing waxed and waned over the years, but after the Iranian Revolution in 1979 dancing was no longer allowed due to its frequent mixing of the sexes.[5][6] The Islamic Revolution of 1979 was the end of a successful era for dancing and the art of ballet in Iran.[4] The Iranian national ballet company was dissolved and its members emigrated to different countries.[4] According to the principles of the “cultural revolution” in Iran, dancing was considered to be perverse, a great sin, immoral and corrupting.[4] As a result, many of the talented Persian dancers moved to the West and spread out mainly in Europe and the United States and a new generation of Iranian dancers and ballet artists have grown up in the Diaspora.[4]

Genres of dance

Iran has four categories of dance: chain or line dances, solo improvisational dance, war or combat dances and ritual or spiritual dances.

The word sama, from the Arabic root meaning "to listen," refers to the spiritual practice of listening to music and achieving unity with the Divine.[2] Dancing mystics (regardless of their specific religious identifications) are called Dervish.

Contemporary social dances and urban dance performed at festive occasions like weddings and Noruz celebrations focus less on communal line or circle dances and more on solo improvisational forms, with each dancer interpreting the music in her own special way but within a specific range of dance vocabulary sometimes blending other dance styles or elements.[1]

Iranian dance styles

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Basseri dance
Basseri dance

This is a list of some of the ancient and contemporary Iranian dances, from various ethnic groups within Iran.

Notable Iranian dancers

Further information: Category:Iranian dancers

Contemporary and historical Persian and/or Iranian dancers

This list of contemporary and historical Persian dancers or choreographers (in alphabetical order, of various dance styles) includes:

Notable Persian and/or Iranian dance ensembles

See also

References

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h Gray, Laurel Victoria (2007). "A Brief Introduction to Persian Dance". Laurel Victoria Gray, Central Asian, Persian, Turkic, Arabian and Silk Road Dance Culture. Retrieved July 14, 2014.
  2. ^ a b c Friend PhD, Robyn C. (2002). "Spirituality in Iranian Music and Dance, Conversations with Morteza Varzi". The Best of Habibi, A Journal for Lovers of Middle Eastern Dance and Arts. Shareen El Safy. Retrieved July 14, 2014.
  3. ^ Taheri, Sadreddin (2012). "Dance, Play, Drama; a Survey of Dramatic Actions in Pre-Islamic Artifacts of Iran". Tehran: University of Tehran, Honarhay-e Ziba Journal.
  4. ^ a b c d e Kiann, Nima (2002). "Persian Dance History". Iran Chamber Society. Retrieved July 26, 2019.
  5. ^ a b c d e Kiann, Nima (2000). "Persian Dance And Its Forgotten History". Nima Kiann. Les Ballets Persans. Retrieved July 14, 2014.
  6. ^ a b Friend, Robyn C. (Spring 1996). "The Exquisite Art of Persian Classical Dance". Snark Records. Archived from the original on May 25, 2016. Retrieved July 14, 2014.
  7. ^ Nasehpour, Peyman. "A Brief About Persian Dance". Official Website of Dr. Peyman Nasehpour. Retrieved July 14, 2014.
  8. ^ oakling (May 2, 2003). "Bandari". everything2. Retrieved July 14, 2014.
  9. ^ a b Sabaye Moghaddam, Maria (July 20, 2009). "ZĀR". ENCYCLOPÆDIA IRANICA. ENCYCLOPÆDIA IRANICA. Retrieved July 14, 2014.)
  10. ^ Huebner, Stefan (2016). Pan-Asian Sports and the Emergence of Modern Asia, 1913-1974. Singapore: NUS Press. p. 250. ISBN 9789814722032.
  11. ^ Young, Richard A. (2002). Music, Popular Culture, Identities. Brill. p. 242. ISBN 9789004334120.
  12. ^ a b c "Iranian Bandari / "Persian belly dance"". Middle Eastern Dance. 2011. Retrieved 2019-03-27.
  13. ^ a b c "Overview of Belly Dance: Persian Style Belly Dance - Bandari". Nazeem Allayl's Atlanta Belly Dance Studio. Retrieved 2019-03-27.
  14. ^ Shay, Anthony (1999). Choreophobia: Solo Improvised Dance in the Iranian World. Bibliotheca Iranica: Performing arts series, Volume 5 of Performing arts series. 5. Mazda. p. 123. ISBN 1568590830.
  15. ^ "Iranian Raqs e-Bandari". Middle Eastern Dance. 2011. Retrieved Aug 25, 2014.
  16. ^ Cesari, Jocelyne (2007). Encyclopedia of Islam in the United States. Greenwood Press. p. 88. ISBN 978-0313336256.
  17. ^ "Basseri tribe history". Marvdashtnama (Persian). Retrieved Oct 11, 2015.
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  19. ^ Friend, Robyn C. "Çûb-Bâzî, The Stick-dances of Iran". The Institute of Persian Performing Arts. Encyclopedia Iranica. Archived from the original on August 24, 2018. Retrieved March 6, 2015.
  20. ^ Siegel, Neil (2000). "Dances of Iran, Robyn Friend". Neil Siegel. Archived from the original on September 27, 2010. Retrieved October 17, 2014.
  21. ^ Friend, Robyn C. (Winter 1997). "JAMILEH "The Goddess of Persian Dance"". Habibi, (volume 16, number 1). Snark Records. Archived from the original on December 14, 2018. Retrieved October 17, 2014.
  22. ^ "Medea Dance".
  23. ^ a b c Shay, Anthony (2006). Choreographing Identities: Folk Dance, Ethnicity and Festival in the United States and Canada. McFarland. pp. 150–151. ISBN 078645153X.
  24. ^ a b "Vancouver Pars National Ballet". Harbourfront Centre. Retrieved 2017-12-05.
  25. ^ "Mina Saleh ( Arizumi)". Mediterranean delight festival. 2010. Archived from the original on December 5, 2017. Retrieved March 6, 2015.
  26. ^ "Spark: Ballet Afsaneh Art and Culture Society". KQED. 2007-07-18. Retrieved 2019-01-22.
  27. ^ "AVAZ International Dance Theatre". phantomranch.net. Archived from the original on October 21, 2014. Retrieved October 17, 2014.
  28. ^ "Nowruz Award – Iranian Personality of the Year for Art & Culture". WorldCulturalHeritageVoices.org (WCHV). Retrieved 2017-12-05.
  29. ^ "OUT OF IRAN / Five extraordinary Iranian Americans love both countries but loathe their leaders' war talk". SFGate. 2007-07-15. Retrieved 2017-03-27.
  30. ^ "Mohammed Khordadian". Whats Up Iran. WhatsUpIran.com. Archived from the original on April 6, 2016. Retrieved October 17, 2014.
  31. ^ "Silk Road Dance Company". The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. 2014. Retrieved 2019-01-22.
  32. ^ "Simorgh Dance Collective". Farima Dance. 2020. Retrieved 2020-09-20.
  33. ^ "Rotunda Dance Series: Simorgh Dance Collective with Sangam Arts". SF Station. 2019. Retrieved 2019-07-26.
  34. ^ "Vancouver Pars National Ballet". Vancouver Pars National Ballet. Archived from the original on September 26, 2018. Retrieved October 17, 2014.