Bahareh and I
August 31, 2004
-- "It seems to be a blink away, you on the stage
at the nutcracker in Roudaki hall of Tehran in 1975."
-- "Yes do you remember us in London in 1974 when I was studying
at the Royal Ballet in London?"
-- "You know that our memories naturally tend to repeat the
exaggerated events. I always recall your account of those girls
who were willing
to push their foot in front of their rivals for them to fall over,
break their legs and let the stage open for them to shine better."
-- "You always catch my surprise with that memory of yours!
I cannot recall anything of that sort!"
-- "But I can remember very well. Your London was small."
-- "I was about to leave for Paris to begin my journalism course
with the Herald Tribune. You were so excited for
learning that your Russian masters had already taught you well
in Tehran, where there was a special interest for the formation
of a world standard ballet company. Queen Farah
kept a keen eye open on your stage."
-- "Yes Prime Minister Hoveda was also interested. He wrote a
letter of introduction for me to find my way at the London Royal
ballet for my first audition."
-- "Oh and do you remember how things turned around 180
degrees over night. Maurice Bejart the famous Belgian ballet
my request for an audition but we could not ask for a
visa since the Islamic revolutionary forces had closed down the
airports. My bad luck!"
-- "Oh well, we had not realized who had replaced those who had
left the prime minister's office at Pasture Street in old town
Tehran near the Shah's emptied out palace."
-- "Well the Pahlavis replaced the Qajar dynasty. After the
revolution when we went to those offices to get a visa we
Sanjabh, the son of a famous political player from the old
National Front who was misled and became the means for political
opportunists to climb over their heads and kick them out of power."
-- "We just know that he laughed at our request to be permitted
to use the airport and leave Tehran because of a dance audition."
-- "Yes and he changed the course of your destiny then, but see
how we can laugh at them now because they have been totally washed
away. They did not respect the delicate fabric of cultural activities."
-- "Do you think that at that point in time he believed in ballet
as an acceptable form of activity?"
-- "His father was invited to tea dancing parties organized
by my grandpa General Parvaresh at the Officer's Club that was
of the Marshall Plan in Tehran. They all danced Foxtrot and sentimental
- "Nevertheless his laughter conveyed a bitter truth he
believed at heart about us Iranians. I felt that he believed that
we did not deserve all the good in the world of culture and international
standards. He thought we ought to get what we deserve so they
opened the way for the dogmatic clergy to come to power and crush
all the modernization that our parents' generation and our
grandparents' generation did in Iran. We headed straight
out of the world's artistic and
-- "Yes that provincialism did not help the cause that the National
Front was fighting for. Intimidated third world nations' griping
for provincialism has led to less civility and more fascism. The
popular democracy that took over -- at its best
-- likes to hide women in compulsory black veils rather than seeing
bare ballet dancers standing on their toes in the middle
of a stage in front of the public."
"The masses were suppressed because
the master player
them by feeding
the greed of those who would be willing to destroy the delicate
fabric of our cultural life that allowed you to perform 'The
Nutcracker' and be a professional ballerina for ten years before
-- "Ten years! We could never imagine that those times
would end and we would be forced out to live in self-exile."
- "So I went to Vienna and won a prize for my choreography. I
have also taught dance and painting in the US since 1983."
- "You have been proving your talents since the age of 14 as
a character dancer in ballet when the international dance masters
used to frequent Talar Roudaki. I am always ever so proud
-- "And I know how our friendship has enabled me to go forward
, especially when you went out of your way to convince me to teach
instead of going to Morris Bejart and become one of his stars.
It was too painful to accept the reality. But your teaching experience
at your aunt's school and hers at her aunt's school,
especially the Women's Art School of Effat-ol-Molouk
Khajehnouri and her sister Mrs. Shaghaghi. They proved that
teaching is one of the only open arms for Iranian female artists.
Even though it has always been difficult. Especially for women
their friendship, while men are often jealous rivals more than