It is Friday, and I want to talk about dance. In the years I lived in Iran, I went to see what could be seen of Iranian dance. Whereas musical concerts and plays were staged almost all year round, dance productions were no more than two or three a year. Dance, which is no longer called by its name, raghs, is now called “harmonious movements,” or harekat-e-mozoon, except in specaial cases must be staged as a part of a “play,” and is scrutinized and censored as an art form, where the music cannot be too exciting, the dance moves for women cannot be too fast, and there cannot be any “lewd” movements in the dance, and since many moves in Iranian dance contain kereshmeh, they cannot be included in the choreography, and will either have to be removed or the entire production will not receive permission to stage. Dancers, choreographers, and directors of dance productions are routinely harassed and monitored, many times arrested or barred from work, and in one case I know about, the entire cast of a dance performance were pulled off the stage and driven to detention on their opening night! Dance is a tricky business in Iran. If it is to give the expected excitement and joy to the audience, it must be choreographed and executed cleverly. With their limited expression and movement opportunities, I have seen extremely powerful dance productions on Iranian stage, where even sex has been depicted quite effectively, thanks to the creative choreographers and casts. One of the choreographers whose productions I have attended is Farzaneh Kaboli. Herself an accomplished dancer, in recent years she has worked on producing and staging “plays” which are more than 90% “harmonious movements.” As a dancer she won many awards, and after the revolution, she set up her own dance school. She has a group of very talented dancers in her dance company, whom she trains for at least one production per year. Amidst serious adversity to her art of choice and much harassment to her as an individual, Farzaneh Kaboli continues to live, love, teach, and show Iranian dance. She is not losing hope. Why should we? Sorry, I don't have any video clips to show you, but if you go to Farzaneh Kaboli's webite, you can read about her, look at her gallery, and find out more for yourself. The above picture is from her gallery. If I'm not mistaken, it is from Fajr Theatre Festival of last year, and the picture was taken by Omid Salehi. (I wished people were more careful to credit their sources, especially where their intellectual property rights are involved. Anyhow, you can look at Omid's spectacular photography at that link). A young Iranian blogger friend, Daisy, who is a student, an aspiring artist, and a gardener had left the clip of a very inspirational speech by Steve Jobs (of Apple, Inc.) on her blog (it's in English) which I am borrowing here. It is entitled Connecting the Dots. Once inside Youtube, the text for the speech can be viewed on the right side panel. Worth the 14 minutes, I thought. I wish you all a wonderful weekend, full of recreation and joy. Hug and kiss your friends and family and your lovers, and remember to say you love them as often as you can. I am a bit under the weather, and wonder now whether I will be able to make the many engagements I have lined up for the weekend. If I do anything interesting, I will let you know! Be good Y'all.