The revolution of women in Iran: they risk their lives and protest by dancing.


by Rosa Ruiz

Posted on July 17, 2018

The revolution of women in Iran: they risk their lives and protest by dancing.

In Iran it is forbidden to dance since 1979: since then, groups of women have organized to give and receive clandestine dance classes. Now the protest has gone more and they are recorded, without a veil, dancing in the streets.

Dancing is a revolution. Dancing is a challenge to the system: it makes the citizen recover the conception of his own body, frightens fears, dancing makes you free. That is why Iran forbade it in 1979, with the Iranian Revolution. Before this, the country financed all the arts and supported dance programs that combined traditional dance with western disciplines such as ballet. But after the overthrow of Shah's government, in the eyes of fundamentalists, dancing is a "perverse act," an "immoral sin."

The dance there has been disappearing, in spite of the civil resistance and the vocational dancers have escaped like Afshin Ghaffarian, who founded the clandestine dance company Tanatos. Ghaffarian has taken his claims across Europe, supporting the Green Movement, which denounces fraud in the 2009 elections in Iran and the death of freedom of expression.


Women lead the revolution

The Government of Iran has continued to repress the artistic freedom of its citizens. In 2014, he sentenced six youths who had been detained for shooting a video by dancing Happy, by Pharrell Williams, to six months in prison and 91 lashes. The Iranian justice assured that they had "produced a vulgar video" and accused them of "maintaining illicit relations" between them. However, despite all this, the hearts of the rebels in Iran are still beating. Especially those of women, who have been organizing clandestinely for years to give dance lessons to each other. It's an odyssey: find an encrypted ad in the newspaper, dive on the internet, call mysterious numbers, get friends to provide false references about you ...


Classes are usually given in basements of hospitals, in abandoned offices or in the homes of teachers. Classes are quiet, since the neighbours could listen to music and call the police. The latest protests of this revolution consist in opening the doors of clandestine academies and dancing in the street. It is their way of protesting before a system that annuls them. The activists, armed with iPods, defy the political and religious impositions of their country and record themselves dancing in the streets, moving to the rhythm of the music they hear through their headphones.

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