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History of Iranian Dance

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Afghanan View Drop Down
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  Quote Afghanan Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: History of Iranian Dance
    Posted: 18-Aug-2005 at 13:06

Apart from the mainstream dancing of today, Iranian peoples had many unique forms of dancing, some ritual, some celebratory.

I am very interested in learning the details of the ancient Parthian and Sassanian dances that Herodean described.

Does anybody have any links or information on their Fire Dances, Sword Dances, and even Horse dances?

Thanks in advance.

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  Quote Cent Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18-Aug-2005 at 14:06
"Fire Dances", is that when you jump over fires at Nowros? 
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  Quote Shahanshah Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18-Aug-2005 at 15:16

Visit and read this, talks about history of iranian dance.

http://www.iranchamber.com/cinema/articles/persian_dance_his tory01.php

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  Quote Afghanan Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18-Aug-2005 at 16:27

Thanks for the links!   It explained a lot about the Achaemenian dances, but none of the Parthian or Sassanian dances I was referring to. 

 

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  Quote Afghanan Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18-Aug-2005 at 18:49

I found this great video of Central Asian Dances, including Afghan, Tajik, Uzbek, Turkmen Dances. 

Check out this QuickTime video:

http://www.dancesilkroad.org/New%20pages/Movies/BA_Web_Demo_ hi.mov

 

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  Quote Shahanshah Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18-Aug-2005 at 20:04
as you can see from their clothing and the way they dance, it is very similar. Almost entirely, central asian culture is the same, influeced by persian and islamic cultures. I've seen Lors dance like that too.

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  Quote Afghanan Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 19-Aug-2005 at 03:14
Which Dance are you speaking about that is similar to the Lurs?
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  Quote Afghanan Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 19-Aug-2005 at 12:24

Excerpt from:

 "The Use of Music in Ancient Warfare: Parthian and Central Asian Warfare"

The use of music on battle-fields always had for such objects as to give the signal, to inspirit one's own soldiery and to frighten foes. The Parthians, according to the classical authors (Plutarch, Crassus 23.9; 26.4; Justin XLI. 2.8; cf. Herodian IV. 11,3), employed in the war not horns or trumpets but kettle-drums (tympana). The tympanon, when being struck with sticks, uttered first toneless sounds turning then into those like both the beastly howl and peals of thunder, which were heard for a distance of several kilometres, inspiring great fear on the enemy (as this was, for the most striking instance, at the famous battle of Carrhae in 53 BC).This is so impressive, one membraned instrument must have been brought to Iran by the nomadic founders of the Parthian Arsacid empire from their steppe homeland, and the Medieval Middle Asian kettle-drums called nagora probably originated from it. A battle drum (tumbag) is referred to in a Sasanian-date Pahlavi, but Parthian-age by origin, text Ayyatkar i Zareran (26). Gurgani's in c. poem Vis u Ramin, composed in 1050 AD and going back most likely to a Parthian model again, speaks of battle drums as well. A dominant role of the percussion instruments in the battle music of the Parthians may be explained by some peculiarities of their warfare. For Middle Asia (or western Central Asia) proper, there is a unique find of a ceramic giblet-shaped, one membraned drum (tablak) which has been recently discovered at Tali Khamtuda (Northern Sogdia), in a warrior's (?) burial dated to the 3rd or 4th century AD. Drum-type instruments are depicted on monuments of art, belonging to Late Antiquity and early Medieval times, from Airtam (Northern Bactria), Toprak-kala (Khorezm), Afrasiab, Penjikent, Khirman-tepe (Sogdia). All of (two-membraned) and "sand-glass"-shaped drums; however, those of different shapes and kettle-drums are also met. At least, some of these instruments could be quite employed for the accompaniment to military actions. In addition to the pictorial evidences, the use of drums in Early Medieval Middle Asia, including on battle fields, is reported by the Arabic and Chinese sources. [Author, St. Petersburg, Russia]

The Musical Culture of Eastern Parthia and Hellenistic East: Parallels in Fine Art and Architecture

Meshkeris, Veronika (St. Petersburg/Russia):

Rich iconographic material and written sources testify to the highly developed musical culture of Eastern Parthian territories (Parthyena and Margiana). The famous rhythm from Old Nasi, irrespective of the problem of their provenance, are a result of the perception of Hellenistic culture by the early Arsacida. An East-Hellenistic synthesis of the instruments on the Nisa rhythm and Western Parthian parallels on terracottas. A list of Parthian musical instruments in Herodian and Plutarch, the "Asiatic cither" (Strabo), representations on Parthian coins. The minstrely at the courts of Parthian nobles (and rhythm from Olbia). "Musical" friezes of the Nisa rhythm and friezes of Parthian and Kushan architecture, their common genesis, Hellenistic-Eastern synthesis, frieze compositions with the depiction of musicians holding various instruments which alternate with decoration elements (grapes, hop) connected with ritual libation as a trait in common in the architecture of Hellenized East (Hatra, Surkh Kotal, Taxila, Fayaz-tepe, Khalchayan etc.). A problem of "musical" friezes in the architecture of palace-temple complexes in connection with further reconstruction and study of architectonics of standard monumental structures. Unlike Parthyena, Margiana was a centre of distinctive stringed instruments and of peculiar funeral rites of Musian character. The short lute was a traditional folk instrument there (its local name was brabat). The ritual theme of the well-known vase from Old merv and ritual scenes depicting musicians on objects of Eastern tereutics, which are connected with Mihragan, an Iranian and Middle Asian analogy of the Dionysus festivals. The musical culture of Eastern Parthia in the light of new research of hellenistic topics and of the instrumental art of Bactri (Takht-i Sanguin, Zart-tepe, Old Termez, Dal verzin-tepe, the Bartym goblet). The confluence of two different art schools - lite and alien that in Parthyena and traditional local that in Margiana- is a synthesis that determined originality of the musical culture of Eastern Parthia.

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I found this pretty interesting.  Are war drums still in use in Iranian music?  In Afghan music war drums play an integral part in the Pashtun tribal dances.  Their war drum, the "Dhol" was incorporated into the now very popular Punjabi/Sikh Banghra music.  It is also used in Nuristani/Kafiristani music, Balochi, Pashaiye, as well.

 



Edited by Afghanan
The perceptive man is he who knows about himself, for in self-knowledge and insight lays knowledge of the holiest.
~ Khushal Khan Khattak
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