بنمای رخ که باغ و گلستانم آرزوست
بگشای لب که قند فراوانم آرزوست
بشنیدم از هوای تو آواز طبل باز
باز آمدم که ساعد سلطانم آرزوست
یک دست جام باده و یک دست جعد یار
رقصی چنین میانه میدانم آرزوست




Historical Persian Dance
































Persian Belly Dance is unique and distinct, Persian Belly Dance usualy uses 6\8 beats, the dance is also much faster and includes the entire body, wild fast movements, with rapid fast shaking shimmies. Of course Persian Belly Dance also is different and should not be confused with Bandari dance which is entirely different as well.





Most Persian dancing is entirely performed to 6/8 time signatures (called "shish-o-hasht").

Persian dancing like other art forms such as music is highly individualistic and relies on solo individual improvisation in the performance. Typically in raghs dancing, the upper body motion is emphasized, along with hand motions, hip undulations, feet motions and facial expressions being points of attention.

Above is an example of dancing performed at a Persian bar also known as the ("Meykhooneh") which was prerelevant through-out most of Iranian history and has been written about extensively in Persian poetry of poets such as Hafez, Rumi, Omar Khayam and the likes.











Persian Dance is often compared to Arabic Dance however Persian Dance ("Raghs/رقص") is very distinct, due to its signature hand movements, and slow circular hip movements as opposed to the rapid hip movements used in Arabic Bellydancing.



The origin and rise of Persian dance as an independent and distinctive art form is estimated to be parallel with the birth of Mithraism and its spread through-out the World.



Often, raghs will be performed at relatively informal gatherings, such as private family meetings, where guests will sit in a circle and a couple will dance in the middle, sometimes accompanied by a tombak or other drum however raghs is also used more formally at various social events like weddings as well. (depicted below)



There are many types of dances which narrates stories, such as the Knife Dance ("Raghs-e-Chaghoo/رقص چاقو") that are almost always performed at every weddings in order to cut the wedding cake.





Throughout history Persian dance was kept safe at the Royal Courts of Persia, these dances often take on a theatrical narrative to portray a story going on in the lives of the Harem girls such as depicting putting on makeup, practicing the art of seduction ("Naz\Eshveh/ناز و عشوه") and are very sensual, playful and joyous.

Ziryab was specially well known and respected in the Islamic Royal Courts of Andalusia's Umayyad Dynasty, he was celebrated as the court's aficionado of food, fashion, singing and music. Musicians have always been at the forefront of fashion trends worldwide and Middle Eastern music has always had a special place in Pre-Islamic and Post-Islamic Courts of Persia.



There was also less formal & less sophisticated dancing in the many brothels ("عشرتکده") and bars ("میخونه") and taverns of ruin ("خرابات") through-out Persia for commoners.

In fact dancing ("رقص") for the most part was considered an actual established profession ("رقاص"). Through-out most of Iranian history many women would be employed at these establishments and could also be hired to dance at various private occasions such as weddings, family gatherings, parties, etc.

This is the case through-out most of the Middle East & Islamic World as well.



During the Safavid era music was declared haram and became forbidden ("حرام") and many bars were forcibly closed. This situation then continued on well into the Qajar Dynasty.







During this time Music and Dance was only for the most part performed in the Royal Courts or residences of the Royalty of Persia. In fact because of the harem-sara ("حرمسرا") many dancers also became Princesses in their own right and many Princes also learned music and became well known musical masters as well.







One of the most important characteristics of Historical Persian Dance is the sensual footwork and legwork performed while wearing revealing mini-skirts or long chadors, all of which seems to have been lost to time. Usually women would wear ankle chains & jewelry with bells and dance in a very unique Persian style. These dances also have specific rhythms associated to them.



One of the ancient practices includes putting on jewelry while dancing, this is similiar to putting on makeup but instead the women put on jewelry. (الزخرف)





These theatrical dances as the name in Farsi suggests are called "Bazi's" or games which the women would often play, dance and perform.








Some famous Persian dance forms include but are not limited to:

Raghs-e-Chaghoo: (Knife Dance) usually used in weddings.
Raghs-e-Shamshir: or (Shamshir Bazi) which is a form of Sword Dance.
Raghs-e-Sha'amdan: (Dance of Candelabra)
Raghs-e-Sha'am: (Dance of Candles)
Raghs-e-Chador: (Veil Dance)
Raghs-e-Daman: (Skirt Dance)
Raghs-e-Gol Afshan: (Flower Dance)
Raghs-e-Shobadeh-Bazi (Juggling Dance)
Raghs-e-Asaa: (Cane Dance)
Raghs-e-Maat: A dances like musical chairs that stops on the music and challenges the dancer.
Raghs-e-Shateri: Famous popular dance to be based on movements of bakers while they are cooking bread in bakeries.
Raghs-e-Shotori: Dance to be based on movements of camel.
Raghs-e-Shekam (Sharqi): Bellydance.
Raghs-e-Chaghi (Sharqi): Fat Bellydancers.
Raghs-e-Kaleh-Malagh: Somersault Dances.
Raghs-e-Abroo: Eyebrow dance, which is based on facial expressions and movement of eyebrows.
Raghs-e-Gardan: Neck Dance, which is based on head expressions and movement of the Neck.
Raghs-e-Lab: Lip Dance, which is based on facial expressions and movement of the lips.
Raghs-e-Ayneh: Mirror Dance, which is based on putting makeup while looking at a mirror.
Raghs-e-Pa: Foot dance, which is based on movements of the feet.
Raghs-e-Zivar Alat (Al-Zukhruf): Jewelry dance, putting jewelry on.
Raghs-e-Baba Karam: a playful imitation of men marked by alluring flirtations and combined with an urban look.
Raghs-e-Lezgi: A solo male or pair dance. The melody is clear and dynamic, the pace is fast.
Raghs-e-Bandari: The distinct feature of this dance is the way performers wave their hands in a unique manner that resembles the cooperation of a group of fishermen at the sea.
Raghs-e-Zangooleh: A type of dance using finger cymbals.
Raghs-e-Mar (with snake): A type of dance with the Snake.
Raghs-e-Mar: A type of Bellydance becoming the Snake.
Raghs-e-Dast: A type of arm dance.
Raghs-e-Dastmal: A type of handkerchief dance.
Raghs-e-Long: A type of loincloth (long) dance.
Raghs-e-Jaheli: A type of masculine dance.
Raghs-e-Atash: Fire Dancing
Raghs-e-Sholeh: A type of foot dance performed barefoot.
Raghs-e-Sini va Chai: A type of Tea Dance with a tray and pot.
Raghs-e-Haramsaryee: A type of Harem Dance (Monarchs - Genie Dance).
Raghs-e-Mesri: A type of Egyptian Arm Dance (Commoners).










Male dancing is entirely different and mostly takes on a funny comic role, men perform silly movements and get the women to laugh, a type of flirtations endeavour to get the attention of the opposite sex. This applies both to Male Persian Bellydancing & Male Persian Dance.



Male Bellydancing could also look like making love to the women Bellydancer, it could also look like a Love Making Scene.



Shirzad spent hours and hours at various Persian Record Shops in Westwood Boulevard in Los Angeles, CA (Tehrangeles) listening to vintage Persian dance music, track by track, one after another till he was finally able to identify and learn what Persian dance, music & drumming is all about. He then proceeded to practice for over 10 years in order to be able to master and play this kind of music and drumming style.

As for commoners the music and dances survived and morphed into a theatrical public puppet performance ("خیمه شب بازی") where dances were performed by puppets instead of actual female dancers.





By the end of the Qajar Dynasty, Reza Shah Pahlavi abolished these Royal Court performances and dance and brought them back into the mainstream Cafes and Cabarets ("Kooche-o-Bazar"), one such example were the dancers and musicians of "Lalehzar Street" and "Chahar-rah-e-Sirus" of which at the advent of the Islamic Republic Revolution then all of these establishments were then abolished.

Nowadays a new form of dance has emerged which has traces & elements of western ballet, this dance form excludes sensuality and seductiveness and takes on a more historical storytelling narrative instead of the authentic Royal Court Dances which were utilized & preserved in the Royal Courts of Persia throughout the ages. Also men seem more inclined to dance like females which is simply absurd and strange.

Below is a sample playlist of some of the most Authentic Persian Dance Music Shirzad has researched and collected over the years.





در خرابات مغان نور خدا می‌بینم
این عجب بین که چه نوری ز کجا می‌بینم
جلوه بر من مفروش ای ملک الحاج که تو
خانه می‌بینی و من خانه خدا می‌بینم

خواهم از زلف بتان نافه گشایی کردن
فکر دور است همانا که خطا می‌بینم
سوز دل اشک روان آه سحر ناله شب
این همه از نظر لطف شما می‌بینم

هر دم از روی تو نقشی زندم راه خیال
با که گویم که در این پرده چه‌ها می‌بینم
کس ندیده‌ست ز مشک ختن و نافه چین
آن چه من هر سحر از باد صبا می‌بینم

دوستان عیب نظربازی حافظ مکنید
که من او را ز محبان شما می‌بینم










In essence this type of music, dance and art is really the most authentic Islamic Sufi music and dance of Persia which has always provided a glimpse of heaven ("بهشت برین") to it's participants, depicting tbe lover and beloved ("عاشق و معشوق"), the wine bringer ("ساقی") providing heavenly wine ("می الهی") & opium ("افیون") to the people and was also known to many of those in the know as the Tavern of Ruin ("Kharabat\خرابات"), where lovers would meet get intoxicated ("مستی") & make love ("عشقبازی")...



ﺻﺪ ﺳﺎﻝ ﺭﻩ ﻣﺴﺠﺪ ﻭ ﻣﯿﺨﺎﻧﻪ ﺑﮕﯿﺮﯼ
ﻋﻤﺮﺕ ﺑﻪ ﻫﺪﺭ ﺭﻓﺘﻪ ﺍﮔﺮ ﺩﺳﺖ ﻧﮕﯿﺮﯼ
ﺑﺸﻨﻮ ﺍﺯ ﭘﯿﺮ ﺧﺮﺍﺑﺎﺕ ﺗﻮ ﺍﯾﻦ ﭘﻨﺪ
ﻫﺮ ﺩﺳﺖ ﮐﻪ ﺩﺍﺩﯼ ﺑﻪ ﻫﻤﺎﻥ ﺩﺳﺖ ﺑﮕﯿﺮﯼ

































گل در بر و می در کف و معشوق به کام است
سلطان جهانم به چنین روز غلام است
گو شمع میارید در این جمع که امشب
در مجلس ما ماه رخ دوست تمام است
در مذهب ما باده حلال است ولیکن
بی روی تو ای سرو گل اندام حرام است
گوشم همه بر قول نی و نغمه چنگ است
چشمم همه بر لعل لب و گردش جام است
در مجلس ما عطر میامیز که ما را
هر لحظه ز گیسوی تو خوش بوی مشام است
از چاشنی قند مگو هیچ و ز شکر
زان رو که مرا از لب شیرین تو کام است
تا گنج غمت در دل ویرانه مقیم است
همواره مرا کوی خرابات مقام است
از ننگ چه گویی که مرا نام ز ننگ است
وز نام چه پرسی که مرا ننگ ز نام است
میخواره و سرگشته و رندیم و نظرباز
وان کس که چو ما نیست در این شهر کدام است
با محتسبم عیب مگویید که او نیز
پیوسته چو ما در طلب عیش مدام است
حافظ منشین بی می و معشوق زمانی
کایام گل و یاسمن و عید صیام است
















آفرین به تمامی مطربان و رقاصان ایران زمین که حافظ فرهنگ، موسیقی، رقص و هنر این مرز و بوم بودین و یک عمر دل مردم را شاد کردین و هویت ایرانی را حفظ کردین، روح همه پیشکسوتان، نوازندگان و هنرمندان ایران زمین شاد، ماشاالله