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Persian dance refers to the dance styles indigenous to Iran. What it is called and the style is different depending on the area, culture, and language of the local people. For example, the Kord or Kurd call dance Halperke, and the Lor of Lorestan or Luristan call dance Bākhten or Bāzee.
The style of dance found in most cities and among the diaspora is called 'raghs' or 'gher dadan' in Persian. It is almost entirely performed to 6/8 time signatures (called "shish o hasht") and is the only dance that is performed by all Iranian peoples regardless of ethnicity. The dance itself is highly individualistic and relies on solo improvisation performances much like all other Iranian art forms such as music, etc.
Typically in raghs, upper body motion is emphasized, along with hand motions, hip undulations and facial expressions being points of attention. Although often compared to Arabic dance, raghs is very distinct, due to its signature hand movements, and slow circular hip movements as opposed to the rapid hip movements used in belly dancing.
Gher dadan is faster paced. The upper body and lower body are both emphasized. Hip and chest movements are either circular or in an '8' shape. Movements can have a focused point of either the thighs, pelvis, hips, waist, back, shoulders, or chest. In Isfahan a popular dance among local men involves moving the pelvis in pop and lock fashion.
As the Muslim rulers at the Mughal courts invited many Persian dancers during their rule of the Indian subcontinent, some elements of Persian dance were absorbed into Kathak, a North-Indian classical dance style.
Often, raghs will be performed at relatively informal gatherings, such as family meetings, where guests will sit in a circle and a couple will dance in the middle, sometimes accompanied by a donbak or other drum. Raghs is also used more formally at various social events like weddings.
Dancing is also part of various mystic religions, including Sufism. Dancing mystics (regardless of their religious identification) are called Dervish. Dervishes can be either men or women, and Dervish dancing resembles Zar possession rituals from the south of Iran (joonoob), Egypt, and the Horn of Africa.
Belly dance is called Raghse Sharqi.
Among most notable ensembles of regional Iranian folk dance is Afsaneh Ballet. Other notable dancers include Jamilah, Azar Shiva, Foroozan, Farzaneh Kaboli, Mohammad Khordadian, Helia Bandeh, Masa, and Shahrzad.
- Baba karam: Is a male Persian dance which is nowadays also performed by women, the dance derived from a Sufi story whereby a servant at the court of the king falls in love with one of the harem girls and sings this song out of grief of not being able to be with her.
- Bandari: Bandari refers to the style of dancing indigenous to southern areas of Iran. Due to increased interaction with other cultures and peoples from areas such as the Arabian peninsula, the Eastern coast of Africa, and the coasts of Afghanistan and India through sea-based trade.
- Bojnurdi dance
- Classical Persian court dance
- Haj Naranji dance
- Bandari Dance
- Kharman dance
- Khorasani dance
- Latar dance
- Lezgi dance
- Motrebi dance
- Qasemabadi A dance of the Gilak people.
- Raqs-e Choob A dance of the Kord people of Khorasan.
- Raqs-e Parcheh
- Shamshir dance
- Shateri dance
- Tehrani dance (Tehrooni)
- Zaboli dance
- Zargari dance
- Folk Dances from Persia, 1970s (Video by National TV, Tehran)
- A Brief About Persian Dance
- The Exquisite Art of Persian Classical Dance
- Persian dance in Tajikistan (Persian)