Document Type

Book Chapter


Dance (Pomona), Theatre (Pomona)

Publication Date



regional folk dances, solo improvised dance, Iranian dance, patterned movement practices


As the locale for one of the oldest continuing cultural, linguistic, and ethnic entities, Iran provides archaeological evidence for dance portrayed on Mesopotamean pottery dated to 5000 BCE (Zoka', 1978). Evidence for continuing choreographic activity is documented in the historical writings of foreigners, from biblical times to ancient Greece to the Persian and Ottoman empires. Iconographic artworks showing dance also exist, such as silver objects from the Sasanian period (224-650 CE) and Persian miniatures from the twelfth century. Iran is, and most likely has always been, a place of immense ethnic and linguistic diversity, a continental crossroad open to influences from a wide variety of cultural sources. Its dance traditions reflect this diversity.


Shay, Anthony. "Iran" in Selma Jeanne Cohen, Ed., International Encyclopedia of Dance, Vol. 3, pp. 513-515, 1998, reproduced by permission of Oxford University Press.

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© 1998 Oxford University Press