Source: Iran Times
In a rare appearance outside her home country Saturday, Iranian dancer and choreographer Farzaneh Kaboli performed with the Vashton Dance group in Montreal-away from the censors of the Islamic Republic.
Kaboli performed with the nine female members of the Toronto-based Vashton Dance group, led by her expatriate student, Ida Meftahi. Meftahi was born in Tehran in 1975 and graduated from Sharif University as a software engineer, but pursued her longtime love of dancing and studied dance education under Kaboli.
After her arrival in Canada late last month, Kaboli created some of the choreography in the hour-long show, but she herself only recited texts-despite the fact that she is free in Canada to dance in public, something that could warrant a citation or detention in the Islamic Republic.
In Iran, tribal and folkloric dances are staged in private, during ceremonies such as weddings and for festive holidays like Now Ruz. Public performances, on the other hand, are severely restricted.
Canada has no restrictions-now. But within living memory, Quebec's Roman Catholic Church frowned on classical ballet that featured tightly fitted and revealing tights; and in the 1960s, Montreal municipal officials fought to prevent female members of a visiting African dance company from performing topless.
Kaboli, who is 59, grew up under Iran's pre-revolutionary regime, when public dance shows were allowed. As a soloist with the National Dance Company, Kaboli gained fame and recognition at home and toured abroad. Since the 1979 revolution, however, her dance activity has had to conform to strict guidelines enforced by the regime.
In Iran, dance performances are illegal and are instead called "rhythmic movement." The company that Kaboli founded in 1999 is called the Harekat Ensemble, meaning movement ensemble. But the company has been able to perform only on rare occasions.
To keep her dancing active, Kaboli told Montreal's Gazette that she runs a dance school in Iran with a membership upwards of 100 students. "If I didn't teach, believe me, I would die," Kaboli said last week.
While in Toronto, Kaboli saw a California-based Iranian dance group, but noted differences. "It's very different. They're far from Iran and don't see what's happened there. I suspect they don't even know Iranian folk dance."
About Iran Times: The Iran Times is an independent newspaper with no affiliation with any political party or faction The Iran Times corporation was founded in Washington D.C. in 1970, in accordance with U.S. federal and local regulations: www.iran-times.com
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