Shirin Abedi (IR/DE) "May I Have This Dance" - Helphoto 2020


Iran / Germany

May I Have This Dance?
In a long red dress, with a small crown in her hair, Mojdeh dances in front of a red curtain in the cheer of a female audience in Tehran, Iran. Mojdeh (21), Reyhaneh (22), Nona (18) and Yasamin (22) belong to the same ballet group in Tehran. They are part of the Iranian post-war generation, which stands up for self-determination, freedom and equality. In 1958 the Iranian National Ballet Company was established and produced over 50 shows until the revolution. According to the Iranian law, immorality and fornication result from sensual dance, which is why in 1979 all dance facilities were dissolved and dance was banned from the Iranian public. Nevertheless, more and more Iranians are dancing today and try to make it their profession. The ballerina Pardis formed a ballet group with Nima, a contemporary dancer in 2008, which ten years later performed for the first time after the revolution with both women and men on Tehran‘s most famous stage. Having said that, the group is struggling with reprisals: Already approved plays are being cancelled, the light is turned off during performances and too much public attention, for instance via Instagram, may result in the arrest of participating artists. Whereas during the revolution the abolition of ballet symbolized independence from the West, today dance stands for the longing of a generation for Western freedom. This story is about the social change in Iran on the basis of a subculture, in which dance is elementary to life. These dancers put trust in their ability and strength to fulfil their dreams, despite the disadvantageous circumstances they face. The dancers represent a whole generation that reclaims its desired future.

Born 1996 in Tehran, Shirin Abedi migrated to Germany at the age of seven. Since then, she has lived a parallel existence between two cultures. Her interest in Photojournalism grew during her early teenage years and got more visible after she took her first class in photography in 2011. In 2016 she moved to Tehran for a year, in order to better understand her country of origin. Back in Hannover, Germany, she continues learning and exploring. She is mostly interested in topics around women‘s issues, identity as well as everyday heroes and their battles. 

Shirin Abedi (IR/DE) "May I Have This Dance" - Helphoto 2020
Shirin Abedi (IR/DE) "May I Have This Dance" - Helphoto 2020
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