Persian Dance

During these Fusion Persian Dance courses, we focus on the correct movements of the foot and arm along with the mixed techniques of Classical Persian dance and Middle Eastern movements. 

In our Beginners classes we teach the dance basics everyone should learn to start dancing with confidence. To satisfy talented dancers we also design advanced choreographies that can be performed by any size group at a variety of stages.

We offer many exciting classes in our Toronto studio and introduce new ones each season. If you prefer private classes, we can always work around your schedule to meet during the day, evenings, or weekends.

Have questions? Feel free to message us on Instagram or Whatsapp!

How can I join your classes?

Register to an InStudio Course
(Six Sessions $120)

Make the most of our classes by attending in-person, exercising with happy people around you, and forgetting the outside world!

Register to an Online Course
(Six Sessions $60)

Living anywhere around the world? Still can join us via Zoom, receive the support, and feel the joy.

Pay as you attend
(One Session $25)

If you cannot commit for the whole semester, turn up at any online or in-studio session and just have fun!

Group Persian Dance Classes​

Persian Fusion Dance

Beginner 1

Tuesdays

11:30 am to 12:30 pm

May 24 to June 28

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Online

6 sessions

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Persian Fusion Dance

Beginner Levels

Tuesdays

6:30 pm to 7:30 pm

TBA

In Studio

6 sessions

Online

6 sessions

Online or In Studio

1 session

رقص تلفیقی ایرانی

مبتدی

سه شنبه ها

از ۲۰:۰۰ تا ۲۱:۰۰

(به وقت تهران)

از ۳ خرداد تا ۷ تیر

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دوره کامل ۶۰۰ هزار تومان

آنلاین ۶ جلسه

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Note:
– If you register for the full course but want to leave us for any reason up to 24 hours after the first session, you can get a full refund.
– If we do not meet the minimum registration capacity for each class, we will reschedule the class’s start date. We also offer to refund the full amount or keep the amount you paid as a credit for your next class registration.
– All session times are in the Toronto time zone (Eastern Standard/Daylight Time) and prices are in Canadian dollars.

Private Persian Dance Classes

Our Studio Classes
($80 per hour)

Your Place Classes
($130 per hour)

SPECIAL PACKAGE
($560 for 8 in-studio sessions)

Online Classes for Adults
($60 per hour)

Note:
– Our in-studio sessions are 1-hour minimum but you can add 30 minutes to your order.
– We can come to your place in Vaughan, Richmond Hill, Markham, and North York. If you live in other areas, please contact us.
– These rates are for individual students; 25% additional fees apply if the second person joins.

Testimonials

The Art of Persian Dance Classes

persian dance classes in toronto

Dance is an integral part of Iranian culture that was affected by different circumstances throughout history. Many believe that Persian dance is a solo improvisation dance but it also can be performed by a group of dancers expressing a concept or forming a picture. We all know that dance is a way of communication without any words. It’s formed of movements and sequences that can reduce stress and bring joy and happiness to the dancer. 

Persian music and literature can be presented more powerfully with rich choreography because dance can convey different meanings and emotions. For example, a slow-moving dance can stir up heartfelt emotions while quick and fast dances are energetic and can excite dancers and people who watch them. The body of the dancer in Persian dance is allowed to be in different positions to indicate different modes.

But first, let’s have a more clear picture of Persian/Iranian dance.

We should distinguish between two different words that sometimes are used interchangeably:

  • Persian Dance
  • Iranian Dance

Iran is a multi-ethnic country whose ethnic groups have very similar cultures however, each ethnic group has its own dance and customs.

It should be noted that Iranian dance includes a set of dances belonging to different ethnicities in Iran while Persian dance refers to a dance performed by Persian people who live in the central part of Iran. Although in modern-day Iran, regardless of ethnic, this dance is performed by everyone in Iran.

Persian Dances

The precise concept of Persian Dance may be a little vague to some of western people who don’t know a lot about the Middle East. They mostly consider both Persian and Belly dance the same while it’s not true and there are way too many differences between these two dances. Unfortunately the deficiency of teachers in this field caused this misunderstanding. On the other hand, teachers and researchers who live in Iran have been facing troubles working on such topics due to the limitations the government put on them since the 1979 revolution.

Despite all the restrictions, art always finds its way. Separating dance -or any other of arts that are mixed with human spirit, is impossible and that’s why you can see Persian dance is taught and growing across the world. 

Persian Fusion Dance

Since there are pieces from different dances that are seen in a dance known as Persian dance, we’ve decided to call it “Persian Fusion Dance”. 

In fact, talking specifically about Persian dance is not easy since it is loosely defined. We can say that Persian fusion dance is a combination of local dances, dances from neighboring countries and some techniques and movements from western dances. Contemporary is another good prefix for this dance because this dance is still being shaped by teachers and researchers. 

There is not much information about pre-islamic dance in Iran. Most books and documents were destroyed after entering Islam to Iran in 6th century. 

It was during the Ghajar dynasty (reigned from 1795 to 1925) that dancers were called to perform artistic movements at the court of the king (The Shah), to entertain him. Some call this dance “Classical Persian Dance”, which is not an accurate term for such dance. Movements of this dance are recored in the Miniature paintings, coquettishness, looking at the mirror, and combing hair. Apart from women, eunuchs in women’s dress used to perform this dance in harems. Noteworthy, this dance was performed also at weddings or some special occasions.

After a while some movements of Arabic dance were seen in Persian dance. Especially after Pahlavi took over the power, women dancers had a space to offer their art at cabarets. As a matter of fact, some movements related to waist, shoulders and hips in this dance are taken from Arabic dance.

During the Pahlavi regime, a lot of concerts and international festivals were held in which there was a need for dance. However, Persian/Iranian dances were not an appropriate choice for these ceremonies because delicacy was a significant part and the details of this dance couldn’t be seen from a point far from the dancer. 

To solve this problem, some dance teachers and dancers who had gone overseas to learn modern dances, added some movements from ballet dance to Iranian dance. Thus, technique, choreography, and counted hits fuse with Persian dance (Court dance was an improvisation one) and people who were far from the dancer could enjoy watching the dance.

In recent years Persian dance lovers are trying to codify Persian dance in their own terms, name its movements and grow it up.

Why is “Classical” not an appropriate prefix for Persian Dance?

First of all, Persian or Farsi is a new dance. In fact, the word classical dance refers to ancient western dances that have nothing to do with Eastern dances. Besides, court dance compared to contemporary dance is old, but when it comes to other western classical dances, it is not ancient nor even old.

Secondly, there is no universal, agreed-upon techniques or names for Persian dance and its movements so everyone, according to their own will and style, can name the movements. In fact, every dance teacher or dancer has combined Persian dance with different movements and has emerged a new dance in their own ways. 

As mentioned before this dance is a mix of movements from different dances so it is clear that such dance should be fraught with movements. 

Miniature painting is one of the significant sources for this dance. If you look at a Miniature painting you will see that different components of the painting have no clear border and every part of the painting is related to others. For instance, there may be a woman whose hand is stretched towards, before you reach to her finger, leaves of a tree start and while you’re looking at the tree, something else close to the tree starts to take your attention. In this way you move with a flow not looking part after part of the painting. Therefore, movements in these dances mostly are along with curvature. Furthermore, movements are almost mixed together, which means, before a dancer finishes a step, the next step shows up.

There are also traces of ballet dance in Persian dance for example curvature is seen in both Persian and ballet dance but the angle of curve in these dances is different. In ballet dance the hips of the dancer should be straight while in Persian dance it shouldn’t because dancers use their tilted hips to form the curve mode they need in Persian dance. Also feet in ballet dance are turned out while in Persian dance mostly dancers have to turn their feet in.

Hips, shoulders and waist movements are affected by Arabic dance. Shoulder movements -which are one of the most obvious movements in Baba Karam dance, also have a role in this dance and that’s why most eastern dance is full of shoulder movements.

Ghajar or court dance (also known as Classic) by feminine movements, facial and pupil movement along with coquettishness has affected Persian dance. Curve-shape movements of this dance also are taken from the paisley scheme. In other words, circular and wavy movements are inspired from these traditional shapes.

Since long skirts are a common costume for dancers, hand movements seem to be more important because audiences can see hands and their movements. Even though foot movements are not seen directly, their impacts on other movements are important and since feet movements are unknown, teachers try to focus on them even more.

There are a few other Persian dance forms besides Court or classical dance. We will take a look at some of them in the following lines.

Baba karam

Once upon a time a servant fell in love with a girl at the harem, since he couldn’t achieve her, he sang a song out of grief. In the past Baba karam was a sad dance but over time it’s evolved into a contemporary dance in which dancers try to imitate working class men’s appearance and behavior. It should be noted that even though this dance is performed only by men, nowadays both men and women perform it.

A black felt hat and coat, woven cotton shoes and a large silk handkerchief (Long in Persian) are costumes that every Baba karam dancer has to be aware of.

Social Dance (Tehrani Dance)

Social dance, Tehrani dance, Party dance, all these terms refer to a popular Iranian dance that is performed in parties, for New Year, the Yalda night, at weddings or any other happy occasion. Although there are some specific traits for social dance, everyone can have their own style. A dancer needs to know the basic patterns and then have their own way to perform it. Everyone with any costume they like can perform this contemporary dance and since it’s a new dance you don’t need to wear any specific clothes.

Different types of Iranian dances

After reading a lot about Persian dance it’s time for you to know different types of Iranian dances that belong to different regions or rituals.

Local dances

Local or folk dance is a type of dance that reflects the geography, climate, music, lifestyle, beliefs and history of the people of a particular region and now we try to introduce some of them to you.

  • Azeri

Azeri dances have their own characteristics such as the type of coverage, various rhythmic movements that distinguish each dance from others. There are different types of Azeri dances, these dances are performed in different ceremonies by men, women or jointly. Jumps and fast movements are usually a major part of most of Azeri dances.

  • Kurdi

Kurdi is a traditional hand-holding dance in which dancers form a circle and perform the dance. Kurds sing and dance in all of their festivals, birthdays, New Year (Nowrooz), marriage and other ceremonies. It’s noteworthy that this folkloric dance is mixed-gender.

  • Bandari

Bandari dance belongs to people who live in the south of Iran, next to the Persian Gulf that is affected by both Arabic and African dances. Dancers perform the dance according to the beat of the song. As it mentioned above, local dances reflect the culture, geography and lifestyle of people who live there so it’s not surprising to know that people who live next to the sea have a dance that resembles the cooperation of fishmen while they are at the sea. In this kind of Bandari dance the way of waving hands makes it unique. Also there are other kinds of Bandari dances in which shaking shoulders and fast waving hands that are full of joy and happiness can be seen. Watching bandari people who dance is absolutely pleasant.

  • Gilaki

Gilaki or Ghasem-Abadi dance is known as a women’s dance. Ghasem-Abad is a village in Gilan province. This dance shows the culture and life of the people who live in Gilan. In fact, the dancers in Ghasem-Abadi dance imitate what farmers do while they cultivate or harvest rice. This dance is full of color and spirit of life.

  • Baluchi

Baluchestan is a province placed in the southeast part of Iran in which people who have a rich culture full of epics, legends and history, live. Therefore, different kinds of dance can be found there. In one of their dances called Baluchi, a group of women who wear silver or gold bracelets dance according to a rhythmic song.

  • Bakhtiari

Bakhtiari People mostly live in the west part of Iran. In Bakhtiari dance men and women dance in a circle, performing a rhythmic movement while they wave colorful handkerchiefs. Women in colorful costumes and men in Debit and Cug pants make Bakhtiari dance even more interesting.

Ritual Dances

  • Sufi Dance

Dervishes believe that they can reach perfection by Sama or Sema dance. Movements in the Sama dance are based on the planets orbiting the sun in the solar system. Actually the galaxy forms the basis of this dance. Sama dance is a way of worship for Dervishes through which they try to abandon their ego. Dervishes focus on God while they are dancing and spin their body repeatedly.

  • Khanjar

The dagger dance is one of the most famous and popular dances which, like traditional dances, shows the distant past of their ancestors. The dance group performs the dagger dance (Raqse Khanjar) in traditional costumes and ties the dagger to their waist. This dance is performed by men and has a mystical interpretation of the passion of the Sufis.

Martial Dances (War or Combat dances)

  • Wood Dance

The word “Choob” in Persian language means “Wood” and Choob bazi refers to a dance through which dancers dance by taking two sticks in their hands, jump and do some special movements. Choob bazi is one kind of Iranian dance that can be found among some ethnicities although each of which has its own traits. In one kind of Choob bazi, there are only two dancers (Two men), one takes the attacker and the other one takes the defender role.

There is another style of Choob bazi in which a group of dancers shape a circle or line pattern and dance while they have sticks in their hands. It should be noted that this version of Choob bazi dance is performed by both genders (Men and Women).

  • Razif Dance

People who live in Qeshm, in the south of Iran and next to the Persian Gulf mostly work on ships periodically. While they do some group activities such as fishing, sailing or anchoring, solidarity and coordination is required. Singing, playing drums and moving with harmony are seen in Razif dance. In this dance, a group of musicians playing “Dohol” in the middle and two rows of dancers on both sides dance and sing.

Nowadays Razif dance is performed in weddings, parties, and festivals, too.

Clothes in Persian dance

Persian/Iranian dance has passed a few phases so obviously clothes have changed also. In the following we will take a look at clothes of dancers in different periods.

A long dress with long sleeves along with a jacket whose sides extended over the hips of the dancer is one of costumes dancers used to wear. In addition there were Turkish pants that were worn in harem.

Also a blouse that is narrowed at the waist and wider at the hips part, and a long flounce skirt was often worn by court dancers. Sometimes dancers would wear a short skirt along with a pair of harem pants made up of satin.

Beside clothes, there were some accessories that dancers used to wear, for example a crown designed with paisley shaped items and some chains hanging from it and falling on forehead or a piece of net were somehow parts of a dancer costume in old days.

Later on, when the ballet dance came to Iran and got mixed with Persian dance, dancers’ costumes got influenced by western culture. In other words, the ballet dance and western culture affected the dance and its costumes and simplified it. The net and veil in Iranian Dance is a part that can be removed in some performances. But those who dance professionally have kept every part.

As time passed, long sarafans along with a skirt that was worn under it, got popular among dancers, too.

Just as there are different dances in Iran, so there are different clothes for dancers that fit these dancers. In fact, each ethnicity or ritual has its own costume which is worn by the dancer or dancers while they are dancing. In the following we will introduce some of these clothes to you.

  • Gilaki Dance

Dancers in Gilaki dance wear long skirts with several stripes on the bottom part of the skirt. Fringed scarves are another costume that distinguishes Gilani women from other regions. Since Gilaki is a local dance, dancers perform their dance with their traditional costumes.

  • Bandari Dance

Women wear a dress along with pants whose decorations make them more beautiful. Sequins and gold thread worked on these pants give them an undeniable identity.

  • Bakhtiari Dance

Women wear long colorful dresses, and men wear costumes named Debit and Cug pants.

Like learning a new skill associated with sport, you will achieve mental and physical health while learning a new dance. These both can help you to boost your level in all aspects of your life. If you fit into any of following categories, this class is for you:

  • Persian/Iranian dance enthusiasts who like to dance in parties of different happy occasions,
  • The ones who like to learn a new skill and have a good feeling,
  • People who want to lose weight or get fit and simultaneously enjoy their time,
  • Busy professionals with stressful lives,
  • Anyone interested in Persian culture and dance in general.

In our Persian Dance courses, we will teach you all the techniques and tips that you need to know while performing Persian dance. It doesn’t matter if you are Iranian or not, as long as you attend this class and practice what we teach you, you can be sure that after a while you will be able to perform Persian dance properly.

Upon registering in one of our Persian Dance course -which typically last for 6 weeks, you will attend the class once a week for an hour. Between sessions, you have enough time to practice what you’ve learned during the class. If you think you will forget what you’re taught in the class, don’t worry because we share a brief summary of the class on our website for you to watch. These videos can be watched whenever you like and you can focus on the parts you think you need to work on more.

We all know that attending a class without practicing and getting corrected won’t bring you any success and that’s why we’ve decided to give our students the opportunity to send us their practices and by this you will realize your mistakes and then you can correct them gradually.

If you’re reading this page you probably are interested in Persian dance. So, if you think it’s not easy for you or you’re not talented enough to learn this dance, you’re wrong because we provide different levels of our classes, in this way our students will learn the basics and once they finish a level, both their body and skills grow enough to start the next level.

Eventually, it should be noted that our classes are available in our studio and also on Zoom (online), so Persian dance enthusiasts can join us from all over the world.