Why do you do what you do?
Simply put, there is great urgency to it. There is a gap in the existence of the art form which not only has resulted in much repression, cultural oblivion and discrimination, but on a practical level has also resulted in the lack of a systematic/academic dance practice in Iran. I do what I do, because I believe in the power of this art form and this community in opening dialogue and creating awareness.
How do you work? (What are your source of inspiration and how do you work on them? You have daily practices?)
I am very much inspired by and find relevance in the Iranian context of art, culture & history. I use it as a fundament for my work which evolves around questions of identity. I have a daily practice at home and constantly seek ways to develop a more efficient, enriching working method.
For you, what role does the artist have in society today?
I see artists as initiators & facilitators of urgent dialogue. Artists have access to alternative initiatives for dealing with issues and concerns that need to be out in the open. They have the power to expose what is being kept in darkness by powers that be. Artists hold mirrors which could reflect reality and are therefore the chance for a more humane world order.
Coming from a background in Literature, I started my career in the field of education and worked as a teacher/translator between 2006 & 2012. In 2012, I joined the UN Refugee Agency in Tehran & worked there for a year. During this time & given my interest in performing arts, I took several training programs & went on stage as a theater performer in less than a year. Soon I developed an interest in physical theater through training with Jacques Lecoq graduate, Laleh Alavi & soon after, Iranian choreographer Atefeh Tehrani, through whose new creation, Lethe, I got to learn about Contemporary Dance. My interest in the body, movement & dance grew and I started looking for resources which would help me find a better understanding of a realm that has had a very unclear state since the Islamic revolution in 1978. This giant gap of at least 40 years became the subject of my practice as a dance artist. Together with a group of young independent artists we started studying the art from in its more global context. This shaped a small dance collective called MaHa. In 2015, we decided to share our findings with a public audience through a private performance called ‘No. 3, Tehran’. I, then started reaching out to the international dance community in order to introduce ourselves & the Iranian dance scene to the world. Through my encounter with Omar Rajeh, we started a collaboration with Maqamat Dance Theater which resulted in our first international collaboration called Zaafaran. In the March of 2016, we succeeded in organizing Iran’s first official over-ground “Body Movement” festival which exhibited several dance pieces within a week-long program.
I have made 3 solo creations since 2014: my debut in ‘No. 3, Tehran’ called Solo, Prelude (to Persian Mysteries) which looks at the 40-year gap in dance & Damnoosh that is an alternative performance. Currently I am working with a new creation called ‘a basis for being’ that looks at dance as an alternative state of being.