New Iranian National Ballet with Lady Jamila Kharrazi, the Toos Foundation, and Nima Kiann of Les Ballets Persans, Sweden, prior to the gala performance at Logan Hall to mark Les Ballets Persans’ 6th anniversary.
In a country where dance and performance is highly restricted, ballet seems something left over from the days of the Shas, a testimony to the effects of the identity of countries the west has sought to dominate. Meanwhile we may be familiar with classical scores that have sought to capture the spirit of the middle east with endemic melodies on violin or the standardisation of a sound from the Middle East on the string section, creating a kind of platitude in music for treatment of subjects during the launch of the era of technicolour film (Ala’ad-Din, Sinbad etc).
In an ambitious move, Nima Khiann presents not only the ballet but an entire history of the importance of dance in Persian history, simultaneously dictated in English and Farsi at the gala performance with some sufi dancing by his ballet company, where the girls exchange their trademark buns for the loose, wild hair of a mystic seeker. The sufi tradition, we are told encourages dancing, an irony not lost on an audience comprised of many seeking artistic and spiritual freedom here in the UK.
Lady Jamileh Kharazi discusses the ins and outs of offering events of this size for free and her own extensive background in ballet and performance.