by Aiano Nakagawa
Dancer and choreographer Aisan Hoss tells her story of growing up in Iran
where it is illegal for women to publicly perform as dancers. She says "I lived during the revolution and it became part of me."
Aisan Hoss: When the Islamic Republic Revolution happened the government rules [changed a lot]. So, what happened was very simple things, for example, alcohol, women without scarfs, dancing, singing, bars, discos, and nightclubs all became forbidden. All the singers moved to L.A. because they couldn’t stay there anymore. Signing traditional singing was [considered] fine, but--during that time-- no songs were allowed to be about lovers, only about God. Women are still not allowed to sing… [And] even if you’re a tourist in Iran and you’re a woman, you can’t go without a [head] scarf. No woman can be without a scarf. You can be arrested because what you’re wearing isn’t good enough. So it [feels] like they can really force you to do whatever they want by government standards and you don’t have any power. You can’t do anything because this is part of the rules. You can not say “I want to be free,” that’s part of the rules. Since I was born, dancing has been illegal. I lived during the revolution and it became part of me. I didn’t know what [life] was [like] before that.