Research 2022

Research 2022

© Kaveh Golestan

Ulduz Ahmadzadeh
TARAB – the door to enchanted sensuality

© Kaveh Golestan
Field Project
Volksoper Probebühne 2

TARAB the door to enchanted sensuality or How to deal with cultural heritage of other cultures AND with your own?

In Arab and Iranian culture TARAB happens when a body is gripped by the music and physical sensation is enhanced. This heightened moment, when the body and music unite, is the door to ecstasy and enchanted sensuality. To DANCE, to engage in this union, is exactly what is forbidden in some Islamic contexts. The ecstatic experience, when music turns to TARAB, is prohibited. Since the 6th millennium BC, people in the Iranian plateau have known healing rituals. They served to connect with cosmic forces, but also social matters such as celebrations, mourning and worship.

The religious ban on dancing grew and waned again over the years; after the Iranian Revolution of 1979, dancing was finally banned under penalty of law. The dance heritage of the Iranian plateau has therefore remained largely unexplored to this day. The cultural minorities were also colonised, and their subsequent orientalisation by the new conquerors led to another form of prohibition of existence.

Artistic research for this field will focus largely on unexplored and under-represented movement materials of Pre-Islamic, Middle Eastern cultural heritage following the process of alienation up to the present time and their dialogues with contemporary dance language asking how was TARAB embodied before prohibition?

In this week you will learn phrases of original movement materials from the Persian plateau. Then we will explore different possibilities of dealing with the original materials asking the following questions:

  • How are the original materials received and interpreted by bodies outside of original context?
  • How could original materials in a dialogue with contemporary dance language be interpreted and expanded?
  • What possibilities does the application of the dance material you have learned offer to the development of contemporary dance?
  • To what extent do certain repetitions of movement sequences and breathing techniques support the achievement of expanded states of consciousness, and what further effects do they have on the body and the choreography?

Another aspect of our research relates to music. Typical for the Middle east are Odd rhythmic patterns. We will be accompanied by an original musical score performed live, featuring the Tombak and Daf, as well as other percussion instruments indigenous to the region of the Iranian plateau.

The most common rhythms associated with percussion instruments and their numbers are 3, 5 (2+3), 7 (2+2+3), 9 (2+2+2+3), 11(2+3+2+2), 12 (3+3+2+2), 13 (2+2+3+2+2), 16 (3+3+3+2+2) or more (basic) pulses - that is, non-multiples of 2, as a priority in Western music.

In order of the music we will examine:

  • How do odd rhythmical patterns affect the (dancing) body, how can they influence contemporary movement language?
  • What possibilities do odd rhythms offer compositionally and choreographically?

Choreographic material will use a post-colonial lens to serve as a counterpoint to the widespread images of commercialised, sexualised and westernised versions of “Middle Eastern” dances.

On a theoretical level we will discuss about:

  • How are the artistic value and quality of these dances evaluated in contemporary art discourse?
  • How have colonialism and annexations influenced the dances?
  • How are the dances commercialised today and where did the tightrope walk start? To the benefit of whom?
  • How do the respective rulers in the countries of origin deal with the cultural heritage?
  • How far are the respective dances researched, how much material and in which form are they available?
Ulduz Ahmadzadeh
© Kaveh Golestan
© Kaveh Golestan
© Maximilian Pramatarov
© Maximilian Pramatarov
© Maximilian Pramatarov
© Sasha Osaka
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Date: 23.03.2023, 05:53 | Link: