Contemporary Persian Ballet

Shahrzad draws upon a culture rich in calligraphy, painting, and poetry, seamlessly weaving these art forms into the flow of movement and incorporating them into the oneness of the body with music. Creating innovative, conceptual themes and complex movement patterns, Shahrzad has managed to capture & combine the unleashed expression of contemporary dance with the refined and poetically potent aesthetics of an ancient culture, creating her own unique style of dance, Contemporary Persian Ballet.

“Talkh o Shirin” (Bittersweet)

Life is made up of opposing forces and without one, the other does not exist. When we learn to not only accept both forces, but also perceive them as one integrated entity, we have begun to understand the essence of life.

Choreography by Shahrzad Khorsandi
Performed in 2006 by SDA Company members Rebekah Fessenden and Alison Weir
Music by Alsoush & The Human Exchange
Videography by Jen Cohen

Not Without You

This dance portrays the pleasure in suffering from yearning for something/someone unreachable, a very common concept in Persian poetry and music.

Choreography by Shahrzad Khorsandi
Performed in 2003 by SDA Company members Linahla Bulataos, Julie Ferrazzani, Shahrzad Khorsandi, Claire Miller, Jennifer Shindelus
Music by Axiom of Choice
Videography by John Strader

Finding Peace

This dance was choreographed in reflection of September 11th. It portrays the state of mind and emotions experienced after a tragic loss. It also explores the emotional path to freedom from anger, confusion, and pain.

Choreographed and performed by Shahrzad Khorsandi in 2003
Music by Jalal and Soheil Zolfonoun
Videography by John Strader

“Al-Munaajat” (Intimate Discourse)

This fusion piece, performed in the style of Contemporary Persian Ballet, explores the mutual effect of two people on each other as a result of their relationship. Sometimes it may seem that only one person affects the other, but inevitably in the end both are equally changed.

Choreography by Shahrzad Khorsandi
Performed in 2008 by Azadeh Poursepanj and Laila Sadat-Sharifi
Music by Atash
Videography by Ali Poursepanj


On Friday, December 26, 2003, an earthquake of magnitude 6.6 hit the city of Bam in Southeastern Iran. The official death toll was reported to be over 43,000. The unofficial death toll, however, is closer to 70,000. Eighty-five percent of the city’s buildings were destroyed or severely damaged, leaving 75,000 survivors dazed and homeless. This dance was inspired by the musical composition by Houman Pourmehdi in reaction to the earthquake, and dedicated to those who lost their dear ones in the tragedy.

Choreography by Shahrzad Khorsandi
Performed in 2006 by SDA Company members Katy Barnhill, Cera Byer, Rebekah Fessenden, Shahrzad Khorsandi, Kim Mendes, Toni Silver, Charlise Tiee
Music: Houman Pourmehdi (Lian Ensemble)
Videography by Jen Cohen

“Atash” (Fire)

Fire is worshiped in the ancient Persian religion of Zoroastrianism. It represents, light, all that is good, as opposed to darkness, all that is evil. Fire is warm and comforting, it is blazing and scorching, it is welcoming and it is explosive, mesmerizing and destructive. SDA Company members perform this fusion of dance that explores the kinetic and visual dynamics of fire.

Choregraphy by Shahrzad Khorsandi
Performed in 2006 by SDA Company members Katy Barnhill, Julie Ferrizanni, Rebekah Fessenden, Shahrzad Khorsandi, Toni Silver
Music by Parviz Meshkatian and Houman Pourmehdi (Lian Ensemble)
Videography by Jen Cohen