Traditional Persian Dance

The traditional dance style of Iran can be tribal and regional, or it can be traced to urban court dance, which is a fluid yet rhythmic dance that emphasizes the use of hands and wrists. Persian dance and music are important parts of celebrations such as: Yalda (the winter solstice), Mehregan (the autumn equinox), Norooz (The spring equinox and Persian New Year), or simply at birthdays and weddings. These events are multi generational, giving rise to the opportunity for traditional dances to be passed on from one generation to the next.

Karevan

The style of dance is called “Bandari” (the word “Bandar” means port in Persian). The music and dance style are highly influenced by both Arab and African rhythms and movement. This piece not only celebrates the arrival from a long journey, but the journey itself.

Choreography by Shahrzad Khorsandi
Performed in 2003 by SDA company members Fatemeh Ahdi Bani-Taba, Ari Bauers, Linahla Bulatao, Julie Ferrazzani, Rebekah Fessenden, Rania Flores, Monica Graham, Kim Mendes, Jennifer Shindelus, and April Wakeman
Music by Bandarneshinan Ensemble
Videography by Michael Mares

“Ghalibaf” (Rugweaver)

A woman is weaving a rug, as she has every day of her life since childhood. The geometric shapes and patterns of the rug, along with the repetitive motion of the weaving, lead her into a trance where she begins to dance with the shapes and patterns of her inner music.

Choreographed and Performed in 2003 by Shahrzad Khorsandi
Music by Habil Aliyev
Videography by John Strader

“Be Yad-e Gilan” (In Remembrance of Gilan)

A folk dance from Ghasemabad, in northern Iran. This dance is about harvesting rice, the most abundant and popular food from that region. As in most folk dances, kids and adults dance together to celebrate the abundance of food. SDA students perform the Persian snap, beshkan, while dancing, to accentuate the rhythm.

Choreography by Shahrzad Khorsandi
Performed in 2004 by SDA students Anna Ansari, Mehrnush Golriz, Deellan Kashani, Saba Keramati, Neeka Mahdavi, Bahar Ostadan, Tina Saadi, Mitra Yazdi
Music arranged by Hossein Hamidi
Videography by Lore Ahmadi

“Chai-khooneh” (Teahouse)

This style of Persian dance is refered to as Jaheli. The word Jahel, meaning ignorant and juvenile, refers to a Persian male street character who is very macho and somewhat of a neighborhood bully. A Jahel’s typical place to hang out and have tea with other Jahels is the neighborhood teahouse.

Choreography by Shahrzad Khorsandi
Performed in 2004 by SDA company members Linahla Bulatao, Rebekah Fessenden, Shahrzad Khorsandi, Kim Mendes, Jennifer Shindelus, April Wakeman, Alison Weir
Music by Persian Dance Music (Caltex Records)
Videography by Lore Ahmadi

“Baroon” (Rain)

A prayer for rain is answered. This dance represents the bounty of harvest and the unity of a village, working hard and in harmony in planting seeds,   and sharing the bread.

Choreography by Shahrzad Khorsandi Performed in 2003 by SDA Company members Rania Flores, Shahrzad Khorsandi, Kim Mendes, Debbie Smith, Sana Webb Music by Sima Bina                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Videography by John Strader

“Aroosak” (Doll)

This dance is an excerpt from a theatrical piece where a child’s doll comes to life as the child sleeps. The dance plays on the fine line between image and reality. Is it real? Or is it an illusion?!

Choreographed and Performed in 2003 by Shahrzad Khorsandi
Music by Persian Dance Music (Caltex Records)
Videography by Michael Mares