New Iranian National Ballet with Lady Jamila Kharrazi, the Toos Foundation, and Nima Kiann of Les Ballets Persans, Sweden, prior to the gala performance at Logan Hall to mark Les Ballets Persans 6th anniversary.
In a country where dance and performance is highly restricted, ballet seems something left over from the days of the Shas, a testimony to the effects of the identity of countries the west has sought to dominate. Meanwhile we may be familiar with classical scores that have sought to capture the spirit of the middle east with endemic melodies on violin or the standardisation of a sound from the Middle East on the string section, creating a kind of platitude in music for treatment of subjects during the launch of the era of technicolour film (Alad-Din, Sinbad etc).
In an ambitious move, Nima Khiann presents not only the ballet but an entire history of the importance of dance in Persian history, simultaneously dictated in English and Farsi at the gala performance with some sufi dancing by his ballet company, where the girls exchange their trademark buns for the loose, wild hair of a mystic seeker. The sufi tradition, we are told encourages dancing, an irony not lost on an audience comprised of many seeking artistic and spiritual freedom here in the UK.
Lady Jamileh Kharazi discusses the ins and outs of offering events of this size for free and her own extensive background in ballet and performance.
Classical pianist Soheil Nasseri gives an interview before his UK debut at The Royal Festival Hall. We hear pieces from Nasseri, details of unusual adventures in downtown US city schools and about performing the UK premiere of Sonata No.0, by little known Parsi Essex-born composer: Kaikhosru Sorabji, involving complex chords and fingering.
Also visiting the studio is Babak Emamian from the eminent British Iranian Business Association. BIBA endeavours to bring Iranians career opportunities and to help them find their way in the world of business. He and host Fari Bradley discuss everything from British-Iranian policemenâ€™s balls to Calvinism.
This show was originally broadcast across London on 104.4fm on 17th March 08
Six Pillars to Persia has a FACEBOOK group, which receives early news of prizes and listings.
Camila Batmanghelidjh (daughter of the renowned Iranian doctor Dr Batman: cure by water) is a psychotherapist and founder/director of Kids’ Company.
Born in Tehran to prosperous Iranian and Belgian parents, Batmanghelidjh went to public school and is severely dyslexic. She did her studies using a tape recorder instead of pen and paper, received a first class Honours degree in theatre and dramatic arts, then a Masters on the philosophy of counseling and psychotherapy, two years of child observation and a course in art therapy at Goldsmiths. After four years of psychotherapy training she worked with children as a nanny, and discovered her talent.
Batmanghelidjh used her mortgage repayments to set up The Place2Be, a psychotherapy and counseling service to children in schools. It is now a national project and serves in excess of 20,000 children a year.
For ten years Kids Company has survived due to the support of charitable trusts and businesses, twice Camila re-mortgaged her flat for Kids Company’s lack of funding. Camila won the Social Entrepreneur of the Year Award 2005. She has written Shattered Lives: Children Who Live with Courage and Dignity, ISBN 1-84310-434-2 and other papers. In 2006 alone she was nominated in ‘The Good List ’06’, of exceptional people and appeared at the Conservative Party Conference and was made Woman of the year.
She curated two major art exhibitions, Shrinking Childhoods at the Tate Modern in ’05 and Demons and Angels: Does it have to be this way? at Shoreditch Town Hall. Lastly as testimony to the widespread interest in her work, Camila appeared on Desert Island Discs in October, 2006 and talks here to Fari Bradley about the company, the children and the things that make the work necessary, accompanied by one of the many that Kids Company has helped.