Presented by INTUITV ARTSHIP and Sanaz K. Soltani, in partnership with the Iranian American Women Foundation, the Persian Ballet production of The White Feather: A Persian Ballet Tale returns to Los Angeles on Thursday, June 29, 2023, 7:30 pm at The Eli and Edythe Broad Stage (BroadStage). Directed by artistic director Tara Ghassemieh, this two-act production is dedicated to the current revolution and the fight for “Women, Life, Freedom” in Iran and elsewhere. Highlighting the talent of renowned Iranian artists, including the iconic composer Shahrdad Rohani who has composed original score for The White Feather, the performance at BroadStage marks the beginning of the company’s national tour. The White Feather had its premiere last March at the Irvine Barclay Theatre. Due to mature themes and topics, this event is recommended for ages 12 and up. Tickets are on sale now.
The Iranian National Ballet Company was the only state ballet institution in Iran until the Islamic revolution of 1979 instantly took away the nation’s ballet dancers and their art form. Their struggle for freedom, equality and artistic expression has continued ever since both in Iran and here in the United States. More recently, in 2012, the Iranian American Women Foundation (IAWF) was created in Orange County, CA., and by hosting conferences in cities in the U.S., Canada and Europe, IAWF has continued to empower, connect and inspire women around the world. It has acted as a home away from home for Iranian women who have been forced to relocate elsewhere.
Tara Ghassemieh began her training in Huntington Beach, CA at Orange County Dance Center. She joined American Ballet Theatre at the young age of 16 and later worked on Broadway and Off-Broadway. Now living in southern California, Ghassemieh is a Principal Dancer with Festival Ballet Theatre and Golden State Ballet. She also appears as a guest artist with other ballet and contemporary dance companies.
It was the rich heritage of Iranian culture and a search for social justice that inspired Ghassemieh to bring her visions to life in The White Feather. In an interview with the Los Angeles Times, she shared her motivation for creating this ballet, saying, “I wanted to create a ballet that would highlight the untold stories of Iran and shed light on the struggles faced by artists in Iran who have had their voices silenced.”
The White Feather traces Iran’s evolution from its ancient roots to the present day. Act One focuses on the history of Iran’s National Ballet, paying homage to the heroes of Iran’s first revolution. Act Two follows a child’s transition into adulthood “under an oppressive regime, fueled by an indomitable spirit that ignites a nation’s call for freedom, spearheaded by women” (from the Persian Ballet press release.)
“As an Iranian American, it’s my responsibility to bring awareness to the issues happening in Iran and to create dialogue through dance,” Ghassemieh said during an interview with PBS NewsHour. “Ballet is immortal and has no borders; it is a universal language that speaks to our souls without words.”
Ghassemieh wishes to express the importance of ballet and considers The White Feather a testament to the continuing women’s revolution in Iran.
WHAT: Persian Ballet production of The White Feather: A Persian Ballet Tale directed by Tara Ghassemieh.
WHEN: Thursday, June 29, 2023 at 7:30 PM (PDT)
WHERE: BroadStage, 1310 11th St, Santa Monica, CA 90401
For tickets and more information please click HERE.
This article was edited 6/22/23 to add name of photographer.
Written by Jeff Slayton for LA Dance Chronicle.
Featured image: The White Feather – Photo by Bahareh Ritter.