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date: 26 June 2022

Abstract and Keywords

This article has been commissioned as part of the forthcoming Oxford Handbook of Music Revival edited by Caroline Bithell and Juniper Hill. This chapter looks at revival Iranian dance, called in Iran “national dance,” a bricolage of domestic solo improvised dance, classical Western ballet, and other choreographic elements used as a vehicle for the representation of the Iranian state and, in the diaspora, as a form of ethnic identity. Following a brief discussion of issues surrounding the term “revival” and a description of the forms of Iranian dances found in traditional settings, the chapter sketches the history and use of revival dance. Using the conceptual lens of festival theory as formulated by Guss, Desmond’s concept of dance as a means and vehicle for constructing national and ethnic identity, Said’s notion of orientalism, and Shay’s constructs of “parallel traditions” and “choreophobia,” the chapter traces the manner in which this dance tradition was created and utilized by both Iranians and non-Iranians in the politics of representation.

Keywords: Iranian dance, choreophobia, parallel traditions, orientalism, Iranian ethnic identity, folk dance companies, Iranian diaspora, revivalism, national dance, invented tradition

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