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Dancing is historically entwined with many cultures around the world. Here, 17th century Persian women dance in a ceremony in Iran.

Persian dance refers to the type of dancing from Iran. Upper body motion is emphasized, with hand motions, trunk undulations and facial expressions being points of attention. Although often compared to Arabic dance, Persian Classical dance is actually very distinct, especially in its lack of hip movement, a staple of Arabic dance. As the Muslim rulers at the Mughal courts invited many Persian dancers to India, some elements of Persian dance were absorbed into Kathak, a North-Indian classical dance style.

Generally, the female partner will lead with her upper body in a delicate fashion using her arms and hands, while the male partner complements her movements in line with the music. However, it is also common to see same-sex couples performing this style of dance, with one leading and the other responding. However, this style is generally substantially less sensual in both manner of movement and in facial expression.

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 film Alexander performed by the eunuch Bagoas at the ceremony where Clietus dies.

Iran has also Bandari dance which is a form of belly dance and belly dance itself Raqs Sharqi

Among most notable ensembles of Persian dance is Afsaneh Ballet. Among notable dancers are Farzaneh Kaboli, Banafsheh Sayyad, Shahrokh Moshkin-Ghalam.



  • Baba karam: A folk dance with special gestures (moving hips, neck,...), using hat & handkerchief. Its origin is Tehran.
  • 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

See also


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