Middle Eastern Dance
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Persian Classical Dance

Persian classical dance is is also sometimes called Qajar or Ghajar Dance as it became largely influened by the Qajar dynasty (1795-1925).  Persian classical dance is a very graceful and refined dance.  It utilizes mostly the torso, arms, and hands along with facial expression.  While some hip movement occurs it is very muted if detectable at all.  Persian classical dance is known for looking "light" and flowing.  Dancers utilize small quick shuffling steps usually on the ball of the foot to appear to float in the air accross their stage or dance area.  Arms are gracefull and flowing and make large sweeping and undulating movements.  Snake arms are believed to have originated in Persian classical dance and are an essential part of the dance.  The hands and arms usually work together to allow movement to extend all the way down  to the finger tips although in some cases the movements start only at the wrist instead of utilizing the whole arm.  Small modest head slides are common too.

Costuming Elements
Persian classical dance costumes are generally a full skirt with a jacket or vest sometimes similar to a ghawazzee coat only shorter but usually with a higher neckline.  The top is generally long sleeved and the sleeves are usually somewhat loose from the elbow to the wrist.  A pair of somewhat fitted pants are usually worn underneath.  A headpiece which is often decorated with feathers and is often very similar looking to a tiara or a small decorated hat worn towards the front of the head is worn as well.  The costuming is usually very ornate looking.  Shoes are usually worn and generally resemble a ballet slipper, chinese slipper, or ocassionally an Indian Khussa.

Key Dancers
Louchia, Miriam Peretz, Shahrzad Dance Academy, Ballet Afsaneh, Robyn Friend

Video Examples

Additional Resources
Classical Persian Dance, Level I by Shahrzad Khorsandi
Classical Persian Dance, Level II by Shahrzad Khorsandi
Classical and Contemporary Persian Dances by Shahrzad Khorsandi
Ballet Afsaneh in San Fransico, CA.  Persian Dance Performance