The Third Annual Iranian Heritage Day: A Cultural Explosion

Persian Pop Music Performed at Iranian Heritage Day 2012

Persian Pop Music Performed at Iranian Heritage Day 2012

TORONTO – The Third Annual Iranian Heritage Day proudly presents a cultural mosaic of Iranian classical, folklore, popular and contemporary music, dance and art including the Baarbad Ensemble, the Niaz dance group and more. This year will feature two electrifying premiere music and dance showcases called The Flight of Poupak and Longing for Freedom All ages are welcome to the events being held at the Royal Ontario Museum on Saturday, May 25 and Sunday, May 26. For more information and updates please visit

Now in its third year, the Iranian Heritage Day is an all-ages, two-day annual showcase of classical, folklore, popular and contemporary music and dance and interactive art, collectives, galleries and art educators. Side by side, established and emerging talented contributors bring a vibrant mix of art practices to Toronto’s cultural scene.

Along with many solo performances, there will also be two premiere feature showcases, The Flight of Poupak and Longing for Freedom


Puppet Show by Vida Ghahremani Iranian Heritage Day 2012

Puppet Show by Vida Ghahremani
Iranian Heritage Day 2012

Music by Baarbad Ensemble, Dance by Beeta Jafari
The Flight of Poupak is a collaborative work of live music and dance that displays a journey of one›s evolution. Some of the musical creations of Iran›s great composer Faramarz Payvar have been rearranged for two santurs by Mehdi Rezania and Amin Reyhani. This story unfolds in three segments in which the styles completely change.
The journey begins in a state of struggle, pain and confusion, yet hope is also present. Hence the journeyer moves into an introspective and meditative state revealed in a drum duet by Bamdad Fotuhi and Alinima Madani. This inner exploration leads to deeper insights, and expansion of understanding. Thus a newly enlightened self is born from this higher level of consciousness. Consequently there is a joyous outcome and the ending of the piece expresses this with a renewed vigour. Beeta Jafari has used the movements of flying birds as inspiration for some of the choreography of this piece, as well as movements from various traditional dances of Iran.

Music by Mehdi Rezania, Dance by Iana Komarnytska
A bird finds herself in a cage. In panic she tries to fly away, but she cannot. She flies faster and faster to no avail until she is tired and alone. Her heart is pounding and one can hear it throbbing. While resting, she ponders her situation and realizes that the only way out is to break the cage. Resolutely, she attempts to break the cage by crashing into it with her body. She does it again and again, more rapidly each time. When she is about to give up, the cage breaks open and she flies away, singing happily. To convey the story, choreographer Iana Komarnytska has employed and fused the elements of Iranian classical dance with those of western contemporary styles.

Persian Traditional Music Performed at Iranian Heritage Day 2012

Persian Traditional Music Performed at Iranian Heritage Day 2012


The Circle is a Toronto-based, Persian music band founded in 2011, offering a unique style of music as fusion of jazz and pop with elements of traditional Persian instruments. The Circle focuses on classical and contemporary Persian poetry of Rumi and Khayam as well as contemporary poetries of Ahmad Shamlou and Sohrab Sepehri. The members are lead by songwriter, guitarist, and vocalist Shahab Baradaran withSara Nejad and Mona Ketabian on vocals, Reza Moghaddas on bass and Saman Shahi on piano. Their debut album was Beyond the Seas.

Founded by Mehdi Rezania and Toloe Roushenas in 2004 for creating innovative and artistic music, Baarbad has been one of the most prolific Iranian-Canadian ensembles. The ensemble has presented music programs in various styles and genres from Persian classical and folklore to fusion music and recitals. Baarbad Music is a winner of Ontario Art Council grants of 2011 and has collaborated with orchestras such as Sinfonia Toronto and virtuoso musicians such as Hossein Behroozinia.

This band is a new generation of an experimental, alternative rock band based in Toronto. Their goal is to open a new dimension in on the music scene where they can be the voice of the Iranian people to the world.

Odlar Dance Group  Iranian Heritage Day 2012

Odlar Dance Group
Iranian Heritage Day 2012

IANA KOMARNYTSKA is an inter-national dancer from the Ukraine. Since 2004 she has been dedicated to the Middle-Eastern and Central Asian dance styles. The multiple award-winning dancer received her training in the Ukraine, Egypt, Turkey, and Canada. A former participant of Ishtar Dance Co (Ukraine) and Arabesque (Canada), Iana is presenting two performances with live music:
Niaz choreographed by Farzaneh Kaboli, a piece which is a union of traditional Iranian music and dance inspired by the vibrant music of the late Maestro Alinaghi Vaziri, played by Mehdi Rezania
Freedom, choreographed by herself on the debut album of Mehdi Rezania, Salute to Sun.

THE KOOCH GROUP is Montreal-based and includes director Nikta Sabouri, Fatemeh, Amineh (actress and vocalist), Alborz (musician and director), Neda (photographer and graphic designer), Armin (musician) and Ayda (make-up artist).



MAYN ZARD KURDISH DANCE GROUP was formed in 2010 by Mostafa Nosraty, following his former group called The Greater Toronto Kurdish House Dance Group, founded in Toronto in 2008. The work includes a variety of dances that have roots in several thousand years of Kurdish history. In terms of style. The performance covers a wide range of forms, more than 20 that are performed in different parts of Kurdistan (including regions outside Iran). Group members lead by Mostafa Nosraty are: Ashkan Lahouri, Ava Homa, Beeta Jafari, Farhnaz Bahrami, Omid Zaroorian, Parisa Alizadeh and Sohila Dashti
BEETA JAFARI is a dancer and choreographer whose passion for dance has led her to study its various genres. She has trained in Iranian national and folkloric dances, as well as some of the dances of Central Asia from Ida Meftahi and Sashar Zarif. Currently, Beeta is part of a Kurdish folk group ‹Mayn-zard› led by Mostafa Nosraty. She has performed at various events and venues in Toronto. Beeta is pleased to be one of the dance directors for the programming of Iran Heritage Day at The Royal Ontario Museum this year. ODLAR DANCE GROUP
Founded in Toronto, and with the goal of expressing the true authenticity of Azerbaijani folk dances, the members have been performing at various venues and events for the past six years in both Canada and abroad. Performers include Riza Rad and Nouchine Davarpanah. They both have had extensive training in dance for 15 years from the masters of Azerbaijani dance. Odlar group performs «Uzun-Dere» dance, translated to «long valley». Music is composed by Uzeir hajibeyov.

Kurdish Dance Performed at Iranian Heritage Day 2012

Kurdish Dance Performed at Iranian Heritage Day 2012

GISOO GROUP was founded in Toronto in 2008 by six dancers of Iranian heritage. Directed by Ida Meftahi, a choreographer, performance historian, educator, and a protégé of Farzaneh Kaboli, Gisoo Dance aims to showcase the beautiful and rich vocabulary of Iran’s traditional, ritualistic and folk dance movements adorned with a contemporary approach. Since 2008, Gisoo Dance has performed in numerous cultural and artistic events and have also collaborated with the likes of Kurdish choreographer, Fethi Karakecili for Mem u Zin performed at Isabel Bader Theatre in 2011, as well as the Odissi choreographer, Paromita Kar.
Gisoo Dance includes Parand, Azar, Golbarg, Maral, Shiva, and Yassmin. Gisoo Dance is presenting two group pieces at the Iranian Heritage Day 2013, a group Azeri dance and a contemporary Iranian piece with the Dayereh, as well as the solo, Jan-e Man, performed by Golbarg.
KAMAND GROUP is a newly-founded Iranian dance quartet directed and choreographed by Ida Meftahi, Kamand’s members include Bahare, Elmira, Grace and Neda. Their repertoire is enriched by a wide range of Iranian movement motifs, qualities, and expressions. Kamand will be presenting a Khorasani piece at the Iranian Heritage Day 2013.
GHAZALEH FARID began dancing with Farzaneh Kaboli when she was seven. After moving to Canada in 2000, she pursued her dancing with Ida Meftahi. Ghazaleh will perform Rana, a Gilaki folk dance, inspired by folkloric movements and activities such as rice paddy and tea picking, specific to that region.
NIKTA SABOURI was born in 1987 in Iran. She started her experience in theatre at the age of 15 and appeared on a public stage for the first time when she was 17. She began her bachelor’s in theatre directing at University of Tehran. At the same time she also performed in many plays, appearing in Saramago’s “Blindness”, directed by Gigi Dall’Aglio in Fadjr Theatre Festival 2007. After finishing her degree she came to Canada and is currently continuing her studies in theatre at UQAM. She is the director of Beizaei’s “Arash” that will be performed by “kooch” theatre group.

THE ART OF MINIATURE (by Alijan Alijanpour)

CONTEMPORARY ARTISTS OF IRAN (eight artists display their works)

RIDERS ON THE STONE (Sassanid Period›s Bas-relief on Rocks) by Siamak Eskandari

The tradition of carving bas-reliefs on rocks in Iran began in the Middle Elamite period (second millennium B.C.) and continued through the next dynasties, including Mede, Achaemenid, Parthia and Sassanid. Sassanians were the last pre-Islamic dynasty who ruled the Persian Empire for more than four centuries (224 A.D. to 651 A.D.) and their legacy played a key role in the formation of art and architecture of Iran in Islamic periods.

This very exciting exhibition focuses on the historic background and aesthetic aspects of Sassanid Empire’s art of rock reliefs by presenting about 40 photographs. Siamak Eskandari spent 10 years (1999 to 2009) and took thousands of black and white photos by his analog cameras of all 38 Sassanid’s rock reliefs scattered around Iran. The photos are selected from 500 hand-printed photographs.


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