In 2008, Harbourfront Centre in Toronto invited me to present a workshop on Persian Dance. I did my best to create an appealing experience. I picked a dance from southern Iran. This piece was very warm and rhythmic and movements were suitable for both male and female participants. Yet, I kept thinking about when I was up there teaching, would they dance?
Yes, they did. It was an amazing experience to see senior citizens, along with very young children, trying hard to learn the movements. More amazing, perhaps, was that these two groups seemed the least inhibited in terms of expressing their interest in dance and learning in the audience. I could see many adults, not children or senior citizens, following the instructions and trying to get the moves, but they were mainly trying to stay out of sight. Neither the children nor the senior citizens seemed to have a care if anyone was watching or they were making a mistake… Paying close attention, they were trying very hard while enjoying themselves.
I taught them Persian dance, and they taught me an equally valuable lesson about human beings, age, and associated inhibitions. They became familiar with Persian dance,learned the movements, and danced. I came out of the workshop with much more than I had anticipated.
Photo by Catherine Abbasi