“Dance is like wine, you have to drink it, taste it, feel it… You have to become drunk in your dance” ~Farima Berenji
As a young person, whenever I would see a dance, I would often wonder about the history behind it and how its performance style and costuming developed. A meaningful dance must begin with an understanding of its multicultural history and as cultural anthropologist and archaeologist I tend to believe in dance as a cultural identifier. Like many other cultural identifiers, such as clothing, language, and music, dance is a means for people to define and differentiate themselves. Yet when we look deep inside at the historical content of each dance and see how movements, styles, even costuming are all connected we come to realize as human beings how we are all connected.
Dance explores the reality of human experiences as seen through cultural variation. It teaches about myths, religion, and the human condition. Many great Persian poets extolled dance in their poems and used it as a symbol of the power of life: Hafiz, Saadi, and Mevlana (Rumi), each represented dance as a spiritual instrument to become one with the higher power. One can even see professional dancers depicted in artwork dating back to 5000 B.C. in the magnificent palaces and temples of Persia or in the ancient temples of Egypt.
Dance is a colorful mosaic of costumes, music, and movement. It is delicate, mystical, beautiful, and full of meaning. There is a language in dance: there is a beginning, middle, and an end. The dancer tells a story, teases the audience with coquettish glances, or displays a variety of expressions: reluctance, joy, sensuality, pride, laughter, even sadness. It is Poetry in Motion of which each movement is a word. Dance is a universal language – a Dialogue among Cultures. Dance creates peace, love, harmony, and understanding among all people. Indeed, dance has created beauty and harmony in my life and I hope that my teaching and performances can create beauty and harmony in the lives of others.