german version

Imagine that dance did not exist. At least not in public. No clubs and, at least legally, no parties. No dance training and no opportunity to present dance on stage without risking a punishment. This has been the reality in Iran since the revolution in 1979. Don’t Move examines the consequences of this for people whose passion and purpose in life is dance. How can they still manage to dance despite all of the obstacles?
Modjgan Hashemian creates a connection between dancers from Tehran and Berlin in order to investigate how societal norms and limitations manifest in the body. Does the body in motion have an emancipating potential which can influence social and societal nexuses?

How can they still manage to dance despite all of the obstacles? What strategies do they develop in order to evade the restrictions imposed by the censors? Like so many other things in the Islamic Republic, dance exists even though it is forbidden.

“That’s life in Tehran. You don’t walk in the city, you don’t move, you don’t need your legs. In the end, you become a person without legs. At best, you walk from one door to another, never more than 10 meters. There is a rumor that the ground in the city has a stronger force of gravity than anywhere else, we call it “heavy ground”. We always sit, we don’t move anymore – that’s why I want to dance.” S.R.

Modjgan Hashemian, dancer and choreographer, grew up in Tehran and Berlin. The piece MOVE IN PATTERNS, which was presented at the Ballhaus to great success in 2009, is based upon childhood memories from the time of the beginning of the Islamic revolution. For her work on DON’T MOVE, she met dancers from various disciplines in Iran (folklore, classical Iranian dance, dance theater), whose living and working situations, experiences and stories have been incorporated into this new piece.

The point of departure for the piece was the encounter with dancers from Tehran who actually cannot be referred to as that. Even the word “dance” itself may not be used. Instead, the term used is “rhythmic movement” if a piece actually makes it to performance under the strict regulations. Rehearsals usually take place in living rooms emptied of furniture, in empty apartments or on the rooftops above the city. Despite these difficult conditions, the desire arose to jointly develop a dance piece across the geographic, cultural and political distance – in exchange with dancers who work in Berlin.


Choreography: Modjgan Hashemian

Dramaturgy: Susanne Vincenz

Video/Stage/Costume: Isabel Robson und Heike Schuppelius

Music: Oliver Doerell und Behruz Tavakol

Light: Benjamin Schälike

Production: Eva-Karen Tittmann

Ashkan Afsharian
Derrick Amanatidis
Kaveh Ghaemi
Modjgan Hashemian
Michele Meloni
Elahe Moonesi
Banafsheh Nejati
Verena Wilhelm


Premiere 18.03.2011 at Ballhaus Naunynstrasse.


Tour: Istanbul, Cologne, Zurich, Heilbronn.


DON’T MOVE, a production of Modjgan Hashemian and Susanne Vincenz in coproduction with Kultursprünge e.V. . Sponsored by Hauptstadtkulturfonds Berlin and the Senatskanzlei – Kulturelle Angelegenheiten Berlin Interkulturelle Projekte.