an art form has been recognized and practiced in the Middle Eastern
civilizations long before it was promoted as a noble art in the West.
Treated as a ritual act of religious and spiritual ceremonies, it has
been an inseparable part of the ancient society's every day life in
major Eastern Empires.
This scarcity of knowledge ranged over not only the dance history in ancient civilizations of Middle East but also any knowledge about or recognition of the contemporary professional dance in countries such as Iran, Azerbaijan, Turkey, Egypt, Uzbekistan, etc.
The sad thing was to discover a shadow of ignorance, a lack of enthusiasm to make a survey on the Middle Eastern dance traditions by Western researchers and scholars. It was completely incomprehensible for me to find out that there is literally no knowledge about Iranian National Ballet that in its days of glory, just three decades ago, had become the most recognized and internationally acclaimed Middle Eastern ballet company.
It seemed unreal to discover that there was no information available in renown reference books such as LAROUSSE Dictionnaire de la Danse about the ballet and its background in countries like Azerbaijan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, etc. The absence of the names of many great prima ballerinas, male star dancers and choreographers of the Oriental world has been shining in other important reference books like the Oxford Dictionary of Dance. The ballet repertoire of Muslim countries appears to be mostly unknown to the Western scholars and ballet veterans.
the Middle East is first to respond to a growing quest of information on this subject. Amazingly the above-mentioned webpage dedicated to make a survey of Persian dance history have had over 43 000 hits during a period of three years.
Finally I would like to thank a fellow colleague, Dr. Anthony Shay, who has a unique place among scholars of dance history and theoreticians of the Eastern world. He has made a huge contribution to this web site by his articles.
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