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The Dance of the Rose and the Nightingale

Nesta Ramazani

Cloth $26.95    |   0-8156-0727-X    |   2001

"The autobiography of young girl growing up in Iran in the 1940s whose passionate interest in dance confronts a society where new ideas challenge old values. "Ramazani structures her poignant and compelling story around metaphors of movement. A sense of energy pervades this life narrative which is all about mobility-in a physical, spiritual, artistic, and metaphorical sense. It is a meditation on blurry boundaries and shifting categories, a refusal to be contained in national boundaries or languages."
dash Farzaneh Milani, author of Veils and Words: The Emerging Voices of Iranian Women Writers

This is an extraordinary autobiography of a young girl growing up in Iran. The daughter of an English Christian mother and an Iranian Zoroastrian father, Nesta Ramazani sketches her personal life story against the backdrop of a society marked by the fusion of Iranian, Islamic, and Western cultures, and by the efforts of an authoritarian state to force modernization on a traditional society.

Within this multicultural tapestry of personal, cultural, and national life, the author portrays how she came to love Persian and Western music, poetry, and dance. But translating this love into practice seemed an insurmountable task until an American woman pioneered the establishment of the first indigenous Iranian ballet company. As a member of this troupe, the author violated convention, performing first in her native land and then traveling abroad to exhibit this beautiful synthesis of Persian/Western forms to foreign audiences.

The significance of this work transcends an autobiography penned by an Iranian woman—still a taboo in traditional Iranian society—it is a unique microcosm of today’s universal quest for a dialogue among civilizations. Ramazani’s story will appeal not only to students of Iran, the Middle East, and women’s studies, but also to general readers.

Nesta Ramazani is a writer, lecturer, and founding member of the Iranian National Ballet Company. She is the author of Persian Cooking: A Table of Exotic Delights. She has also written many articles on the subject of Middle Eastern women, which have appeared in the Middle East Journal, Journal of South Asian and Middle Eastern Affairs, and Middle East Insight. She lives in Charlottesville, Virginia.

6 x 9, 272 pages

The Dance of the Rose and the Nightingale

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