Banafsheh Amiri

Biography: 

Banafsheh Amiri is an Iranian choreographer, dancer, instructor, and dance educator. For the last eighteen years, she has developed her dance methodology focusing on Iranian dance choreography and teaching pedagogy. Her work includes fluid yet rhythmic movements that convey cultural and spiritual themes, as well as the grace, femininity, and intricate details associated with Iranian visual art.

She has extensive experience in performing Iranian classical, contemporary, and folkloric dances, as well as Cuban Salsa. To promote the new Iranian dance form, Banafsheh founded the Miniature Dance Academy and established the Miniature Dance Group in 2012, which performed for women in Tehran, Iran until 2022. 

Banafsheh’s lifelong investigation of Iranian dance has been impacted by the discovery of the complexity of Iranian traditional music. She has realized the impact of the role of Iranian traditional music embodied in Iranian dance. Having been trained since 2013, she became a vocalist in Radifhaye-Avazi (Iranian Traditional Modal songs), dedicated to enriching the vocabulary of Iranian dance.

She earned her BA in Fine Arts from Tehran Alzahra University in 2006 and her MFA in Interior Design from the University of Brighton in 2009. Since 2022, Banafsheh has been pursuing an MFA in Dance at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, focusing her research interests on Iranian dance and choreography.

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Style

Banafsheh’s extensive training in world dance styles, over 20 years of practicing Iranian traditional and folkloric dance, along with deep understanding of Iranian art, culture and music, allows her to develop a new method of presenting and instructing Iranian dance, also known as Banafsheh – Miniature Dance Style.

Her Innovative dance methodology allows Banafsheh to retain all that she feels necessary from Iranian regional culture and folk dances, blends them with the classical or modern techniques, flavours them with Persian feelings and re-invent them in a traditional or contemporary theme to portray her vision of Iranian dance.

As a choreographer she utilised a wide variety of movement styles, not only from Iranian and worldwide dances, but also some which she describes as a habitual Iranian behaviours and their impulsive gestures. All the movements are flourished by delicacy and grace of Persian ladies and artistically flavoured by natural Persian feelings.

She is also a story teller, using her dance as a free-style tool to share not only her deepest concerns about her homeland art and culture heritage, but also reveals stories of the daily life in contemporary Iran.

Banafsheh continues to find her inspiration both in Iranian artistic heritage and in everyday story of Iran’s today.

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Statement

My intension is to bring ‘the joy’ of being a Persian lady back to the modern ladies of Iran.  It seems that we, ”modern Iranian ladies”, are simply forgetting about the graceful and femininity we have in our natural unconscious behaviours. It’s time to flash back and mapping who we really are? To sense our cultural feeling and emotions, through our long-lost memories.  The sensory experiences that build attachments to our roots. We need to re- build connections to our natural and historic experiences by digging into our past, vintage family photos and old stories. I use dance, as a sensory technique, for mapping the story of Iranian ladies. I believe that we need to recall the ways to convey our deepest message through our inherited female strength, prominent body languages، facial expressions, delicate head gestures, purposeful smiles and sophisticated eye expressions. Clearly, there are still a lot to be said.

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