Dancing the uprising

Den Aufstand tanzen
This is how the mullahs love it: Woman next to woman, demurely wrapped in a hijab, in front of a tent protecting them on the beach of the Caspian Sea.

Susanne Vincenz

Uprisings in Iran come in waves. Again and again. But for the first time, women are dancing in the streets. The country banned them from dancing in 1979. Their headscarf, the hijab, falls. Their hands grab it like a flag in defiance. They set it on fire. Iran is in turmoil – a turmoil born out of hunger for food and freedom in a state that keeps its henchmen and inspectors alive with bureaucratic diligence. And its executioners.

Shervin Hajipour

Shervin Hajipour, a young, seemingly introverted, curly-haired man is known to everyone in Iran because of his very simple song, because of the freedom his song is about, and because of its opening line:

Because of fear of dancing in the streets

“Because of fear of dancing in the streets
Because of the fear of kissing in the street
Because of my sister, your sister, our sisters
Because of a rotten mindset that needs to change
Because of the shame of not having money
Because of dream of a normal life
Because of the homeless kid and his dreams
Because of the corrupted economy
Because of the polluted air
Because of Vali-e-asr Street and its dying trees
Because of the Pirouz cheetah and its extinction
Because of the innocent stray dogs that were killed
Because of the tears our situation draws out
Because of the people who died n that Ukrainian airplane
Because of the smiles on our social media profiles
Because of the students and the future for us all
Because of the brilliant minds who are imprisoned
Because of the Afghan children
Because of the endless becauses
Because of the hateful slogans in our schools
Because of poorly built houses, collapsing because of corruption, that are killing so many people
Because of the peaceful life
Because of the sun after so many long nights
Because of endless depression and insomnia
Because of people, motherland, development
Because of girls who are so oppressed, they wish to be boys
Because of women, life, freedom
Because of freedom
Because of freedom
Because of freedom”

“Women, life, freedom” (“Zan, Zendegi, Azadi”) is the rallying cry in the Islamic republic. It is wielded against the system, the “nezam,” shouted in choruses from the windows at curfew in the evening and in the daytime during protests and clashes with civilian and uniformed security forces. The West calls it a feminist revolution. It is a revolt against the patriarchy of the mullahs, against the system of a protective power in the name of Allah. Now the women are dancing.

Dancing is forbidden in Iran. The profession of female dancer does not exist. Female choreographers call themselves directors. Those who move are not dancing but practicing “motion.” For the first time in Iran’s long history of revolt, there is dance again. It will also redefine the role of theater in this country. Our author is sure of it. He is a director and associate professor with the Department of Acting and Directing at a Faculty of Arts and Architecture in Iran.

Read on …

Dancing in the streets for freedom of the theater


Why are all Iranian governments – past and present – so afraid of the theater? The army of censors controlling this art has not managed to kill theater over the past 117 years. Theater in Iran is not allowed to dance, it is not allowed to portray the people and certainly not the government and the rulers. What happens to theater and dance in times of upheaval?

… or as a lover read for free