In Search of Traces: Linkages of Dance and Visual and Performative Expression in the Iranian World

Document Type



Dance (Pomona), Theatre (Pomona)

Publication Date



Iran, solo improvised dance, calligraphy


In this essay, the author analyzes the way in which Iranian solo improvised dance, a form of expression considered the least of the arts, if an art form at all, by the majority of Iranians, shares formal esthetic and performative aspects with visual art forms through the use of geometry and other performative expressions, such as music and traditional theater, through the use of improvisation. To stress the commonality between the various forms of art, Shay selects calligraphy as the most honored and esteemed art to demonstrate the common features, thus destabilizing the traditional hierarchy of “high” and ‘low” artistic expression.

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