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Archiving the Dances of Iran

Project Overview

Archiving the dances of Iran is a complex process which involves several phases to ensure accuracy and reliability of the information we publish.

We will be incorporating both primary sources (local masters) and secondary sources (those who have researched and learned from the local masters) to compile the information for each dance of each region.

Each dance will include the cultural context and the meaning behind the dance and each move (if known). Each dance will also include information about the music that is used for that style. 

The format of the research will include both in person visits to each region and socratic dialogue among scholars and those who have studied Iranian dance by traveling and learning from the primary sources (local masters).  In 2016, we will have a representative in two regions of Iran, conducting research on the dances of those two regions. We will also be archiving some of the work from Mr. Robert de Warren who has traveled to and learned from the local masters. 

The goal of our project is not to find one singular authentic form of a dance, but to document the unifying characteristics of each dance and the variations from region to region. For example, Torbat-e-Jam has many dances, including Afar. Afar is done in many areas from Torbat-e-Jam to Sarakhs. The dance masters agree on certain elements remaining consistent among the dances, while there are regional differences from village to village. We will be recording both the consistent elements, and the variable elements of each dance. 

Dances will be videotaped and samples will be provided in the archives. Additionally, the dances will be described by move, using labanoation and standard dance vocabulary.