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Persian dance

Persian dance

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Persian dance refers to the type of dancing from Iran
Iran , officially the Islamic Republic of Iran , is a country in Southern and Western Asia. The name "Iran" has been in use natively since the Sassanian era and came into use internationally in 1935, before which the country was known to the Western world as Persia...

. Persian dance is very sensual, circular and slow which makes it a dance that is unique to Iran amongst all other Middle Eastern dance forms.

Persian dance is almost entirely performed to 6\8 time signatures and is the only dance that is performed and known by all Iranians regardless of ethnicity, the dance itself is highly individualistic and also heavily relies on solo improvisation performances much like all other Iranian art forms such as music, etc.

Other Iranian dances include regional folk dances which are always performed in group settings whereby men and women dances are performed in group based ensemble settings.

Usually in Persian dance the upper body motion is emphasized, with hand motions, hip undulations and facial expressions being points of attention. Although often compared to Arabic dance, Persian dance is actually very distinct, due to its signature hand movements, slow and sensual circular hip movements as opposed to the rapid hip movements used in bellydance. As the Muslim rulers at the Mughal
Mughal era
The Mughal era is a historic period of the Mughal Empire in South Asia . It ran from the early 15th century to a point in the early 18th century when the Mughal Emperors' power had dwindled...

 courts invited many Persian dancers during their rule of the Indian subcontinent
Indian subcontinent
The Indian subcontinent, also Indian Subcontinent, Indo-Pak Subcontinent or South Asian Subcontinent is a region of the Asian continent on the Indian tectonic plate from the Hindu Kush or Hindu Koh, Himalayas and including the Kuen Lun and Karakoram ranges, forming a land mass which extends...

, some elements of Persian dance were absorbed into Kathak
Kathak is one of the eight forms of Indian classical dances, originated from Uttar Pradesh, India. This dance form traces its origins to the nomadic bards of ancient northern India, known as Kathaks, or storytellers...

, a North-Indian classical dance style.

Often, Persian dance will be performed at relatively informal gatherings, such as family meetings, where everyone will sit in a circle (especially on rugs) and a couple will dance in the middle, sometimes accompanied by a Persian drummer playing beats. Persian dance is also used more formally at various social events, like weddings.

Persian dance appears in American pop culture in the 2004 film Alexander
Alexander (film)
Alexander is a 2004 epic film based on the life of Alexander the Great. It is not a remake of the 1956 film which starred Richard Burton. It was directed by Oliver Stone, with Colin Farrell in the title role...

performed by the eunuch Bagoas
Bagoas was a eunuch who became the vizier to Artaxerxes III. In this role, he allied himself with the Rhodian mercenary general Mentor, and with his help succeeded in once again making Egypt a province of the Persian Empire...

 at the ceremony where Clietus dies.

Iran has also Bandari dance, mostly in the South and belly dance itself Raqs Sharqi.

Among most notable ensembles of regional Iranian folk dance is Afsaneh Ballet
Afsaneh Ballet
Afsāneh Ballet is a non-profit cultural organization devoted to the expressive arts dance, music and poetry of the greater Persian cultural zone Iranian cultural continent: Iran, Tajikistan, Afghanistan, Uzbekistan, Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan, Armenia and Western China...

. Among notable dancers are Jamilah, Azar Shiva, Foroozan, Farzaneh Kaboli
Farzaneh Kaboli
Farzaneh Kaboli is an Iranian dancer, a leader in the Iranian Folkloric and National Dance Art. and a master of choreography in Iranian theaters....

, Mohammad Khordadian.


  • Baba karam: Is a male Persian dance which is nowadays also performed by women, the dance derived from a Sufi story whereby a servant at the court of the king falls in love with one of the harem girls and sings this song out of grief of not being able to be with her.
  • Bandari: A kind of fast dance with energetic music. The dance is special for cities in the south of Iran.
  • Bojnurdi dance
  • Classical Persian court dance
  • Haj Naranji dance
  • Kereshmeh
  • Khaliji Dance
  • Kharman dance
  • Khorasani dance
  • Latar dance
  • Lezgi dance
  • Luri
  • Matmati
  • Mazandarani
  • Motrebi dance
  • Qasemabadi A local dance for northern Iran (Caspian region). Women performing the dance usually wear a special costume consisting of long puffy colorful skirt, black pants, a white scarf, and a black vest. Dancers demonstrate rice cultivation.
  • Raqs-e Choobbazi
  • Raqs-e Parcheh
  • Ru-Howzi
  • Shamshir dance
  • Shateri dance
  • Tehrani dance (Tehrooni)
  • Vahishta
  • Zaboli dance
  • Zargari dance

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