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fresco Chehel Sotun Palace

Ispahan Blog no. 99: Another one of my favorite things..
Dancing with a friend


Ispahan Blog no. 98: Two of my favorite things..
Here's a link to what Anthony Bourdain had to say about visiting Iran and, of course, eating Iranian food: Anthony in Iran


Ispahan Blog no. 97: Performing: both nerve wracking & so much fun..!

Today I have been dancing at the MECC building (home of TEFAF) Maastricht (NL), on invitation of our brand new Dutch Oriental Dance Champion, Zuheyra. Zuheyra and I are both former dance students of dance school Salomé and have been on a stage many time before. But that was some time ago and as soon as we were on stage, it was just like old times! We had so much fun! Afterwards, a gentleman approached me and said he was so inspired by our performance, that he was going to create an 'oriental' fragrance with us in mind! Well, how often does that happen in a lifetime!



Ispahan Blog no. 96: Congrats Zuheyra!
I am very proud to announce that former Ispahan member Zuheyra has won the Dutch championships! Yay! She has competed before, and with great results may I say, but being the Dutch Belly Dance Champion 2014-2015 is spectacular! As I told her, after congratulating her: she looks like she was born dancing.. it's so natural to her. Very proud!

Photograph:Peter Gartsen




Ispahan Blog no. 95: Happy Nowrouz ('New Day')!
It is a time of great joy and family celebrations that are shared by people of all faiths in many countries that trace their history back through the centuries to the ancient Mesopotamian civilization and the Persian Empire. Nowrouz(Nowrooz/Nowruz) is the beginning of the year for the people of Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Iran, Tajikistan and a few of the Asian republics of the former Soviet Union. The Kurds in Georgia, Iraq, Syria, and Turkey celebrate Nowrouz as the new year festival. Nowrouz begins precisely at the vernal equinox, on the 1st day of Farvardin of the Islamic solar calendar, usually on March 20th or 21st.

Nowrouz always begins on the first day of spring, and it lasts for 13 days. Families gather at Haft-seen or Haft-sinn, tables set with special traditional Nowrouz foods and recipes and other items to symbolize the family's beliefs and values. All of them begin with the sound of the letter "S" — Seeb - apple; Sabze - green grass or Sabzeh - wheat or lentil sprouts; Serke - vinager; Samanoo - a paste made out of wheat; Senjed - a berry native to the region; Sekke - a coin; and Seer - garlic.

The sixth day of the festivities is Zarathushtra's birthday and special celebrations are held to mark the occasion. The 13th day of the new year is called "Sizdah Bedar" and the parks are filled with families bringing luck by spending the day out of doors. Young girls tie grass in knots on this day to wish for a good husband. Minstrels, Haji Firuz, sing in the streets to announce the festivities and house cleaning is a part of the preparations. On the Wednesday before Nowrouz bonfires are lit to jump over and children gather coins and treats as they visit neighbors.




Ispahan Blog no. 94: Looking back, but not staring at it..

I'll admit it, the title is stolen from my all time favourite choreographers Lightfoot & León, who gave it to their new and fabulous Programme ||| of their NDT1 dance company (Nederlands Dans Theater), which is absolutely brilliant and breathtaking. Go see it!
And since it also describes the status of Ispahan very well, I decided to use it here. I am looking at the past, savouring everything Ispahan was and brought me and I am also looking forward, ready for change. In due time you will learn about this here, on this page and via social media. So bare with me, please!




Ispahan Blog no. 93: Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

I wish you all a very Merry Christmas, may you be surrounded by family and loved ones, sharing stories and food together, sitting by the fire. A blessed time to pause our busy lives and be thankful for all the people who have stood by us when the going got tough and who we sometimes take for granted, for it is them that truly matter. This year has been a year of change (Yes, we can!) and the next one will be no different. A year of new initiatives, new energy, new endeavors. And for the new year, 2014, I wish you love, peace, health and happiness! Lots of dancing too, of course! Until the New Year!

Lots of love,
Kashka & Ispahan.




Ispahan Blog no. 92: Happy Yalda!

Yalda (Yalda Night/ 'Shab-e Yalda') is the Persian Winter Solstice Celebration, popular since ancient times for it dates back to pre-Zoroastrian times. Yalda (a Syriac word meaning 'birth') is celebrated on the Northern Hemisphere's longest night of the year, on the eve of the Winter Solstice. It is the eve of the birth of Mithra, the Sun God, who symbolised light, goodness and strength on earth and the triumph of the Sun God over the powers of darkness. In Iran today, Yalda is a time when friends and family gather together to eat, drink and read poetry (especially Hafiz) until well after midnight. (In ancient times, people were advised to stay awake most of the night, to protect them from misfortune, so they held small parties, special ceremonies and ate the last remaining (dried) fruits from summer.) Fruits and nuts are still part of the festivities today, as is food in general and pomegranates and watermelons are particularly significant. The red colour in these fruits symbolises the crimson hues of dawn and glow of life, invoking the splendour of Mithra.




Ispahan Blog no. 91: 'As If I Am Not Here..'
This is the working title of my new project. Just like a previous choreography of mine (called 'Exils', after the Tony Gatlif movie) many years ago, this will also be a fusion piece, combining Oriental dance with Modern Ballet and Tribal Fusion. Also the interdisciplinary aspect, the cooperation of different art forms, will make this piece very exciting. Obviously we will need funding. Soon I will set up a sponsoring possibility for everyone who would like to contribute, big or small. I am very thankfull that I have gotten the cooperation from many people (not just dancers) so far, to participate in this project. If you would like to know more, or would like to participate, please e-mail me! (
Until soon!




Ispahan Blog no. 90: Project ISPAHAN
A little glimps of what I am working on..!




Ispahan Blog no. 89: The Belly Dance Blues..
"Why does something I love so much make me so unhappy?" It happens to all of us sooner or later, certainly if you are dancing as long as I have: the Belly Dance Blues, it hits ya! Actually, I think this has happened to me ones or twices before in my life.. Whoops, the passion was gone, where did it go? If you read this article by Alexis Southall, in which she describes 'reaching the lowest points of despair of why you’re even still dancing at all' and how she overcame that, you will realise it is very common. And here's another article, from Gilded Serpent by Rosalba Jasso on how she got her BD 'mojo' back. The Belly Dance Blues makes you question whether or not you should continue on this road, a road that does not make you a respected artist no matter how hard you work, does not pay the bills and, for most of us, does not score you points with family, (non BD) friends and society in general. Rediscovering the joy of dance is a very personal thing. For me, it was as 'easy' as waking up one day and deciding I wanted to dance, damn it! I got dressed and started typing away on my computer..

To be continued!


Ispahan Blog no. 88: I am so proud...

I am very, very proud that in the last half year, ISPAHAN Magazine has reached almost 30.000 readers all over the world. In fact, the magazines are read in 42 countries (see orange coloured countries in the map below)! And eventhough I did have big ambitions as I embarked on this journey, I could have never imagined this outcome. A big Thank You to all readers and Goodbye!



Ispahan Blog no. 87: The Famous Salade from Shiraz

Summer is the perfect time for salades and here is the recipe of the ever so famous Salad Shirazi: a delicious and healthy salad that is also easy to make. Take 5 Persian cucumbers (or 2 English cucumbers, the idea is to use seedless cucumbers), 4 round tomatoes, 1 medium red onion, 1/2 cup fresh lime juice, 1 tbsp dry mint, 1 tbsp oil (optional), salt & pepper. Small dice all of them into the same size. Season with salt, pepper and add dried mint, mix well and leave in the fridge for 20 minutes. Then pour the lime juice and olive oil over the salad. Mix well and refrigerate for at least one hour before serving.Tthe more you let it sit, the better it is according to the Shirazi people! Enjoy!





Ispahan Blog no. 86: ..AND HERE IT IS!!!

To read this
- 280 pages thick and FREE - online magazine on Oriental Dance and things related to it, please go to the Ispahan Magazine Facebook page and Join!

ISPAHAN Magazine Facebook page:

It took me months to make and then you have to let it go, into the world. Even though you're not 'ready' yet. But that's how these things go. If you would like to read about how this magazine developed and came about, read the 'Let's Chat' article. But there are also so many beautiful photograps, stories, articles, an interview, shopping, travel info... anything a magazine needs. Enjoy!





Ispahan Blog no. 85: Ispahan Magazine No. 6/ Summer issue on it's way!
Just a quick note to tell you how excited I am about the upcoming issue of Ispahan Magazine! It still needs a massive amount of work and I am seeing more of my computer than anything else, but I am meeting so many lovely and intersting people! Yay! If you would like to contribute to the magazine, e-mail me a.s.a.p. please, at (in English, German or Dutch preferably). See you soon!!

PS: Did you become a member of the Ispahan Magazine Facebook page yet? Go here and apply, so you won't miss the next issue!





Ispahan Blog no. 84: Persian Paisley (the Boteh)

Wood handstamp for block-printing
traditional "paisley" designs, Isfahan, Iran

"A boteh is a symbolic representation of either a bouquet of flowers, ferns, and other plants, or a cluster of leaves from the "sarv" tree (Cupressus sempervirens). The term is still referred to as "boteh" in French, as during the cultural exchange between France and the Qajar Empire many concepts were shared and the names given from the culture borrowed from were kept intact (one reason why there are so many French words in Farsi). The boteh was such a popular design, and so expensive to import, than many places more "local" to the demand began to mimic it. And Paisley, a town in Scotland, was the place that became famous for being the foremost locality to produce it. And so, in the English speaking world, it became known as the paisley."

What an interesting read! For more look at:




Ispahan Blog no. 83: Lucky dancers in the North Carolina area.. (USA)

The Iranian Cultural Society of North Carolina, proudly presents the Third Annual North Carolina Persian Festival. They will celebrate the rich and ancient culture, history, art and traditions of the people of Iran. There will be live Persian dance and music! You lucky B...ellydancers! ;-) Go to: for more info.




Ispahan Blog no. 82: Forming the new group
Those of you close to me, know that I am forming a new Ispahan group, as we speak. I hope to find Ispahan Ladies that are willing to be challenged beyond paved ways, to work (practise-practise-practise) and spend lots of their time and energy on this project, because they love it and because they are driven to give the audience their best. Those who are creative, big thinkers and for who outside the box is their normal. A skilled, insightful and intelligent, arty group of dancers, working towards a common goal, as a group. I am well on my way: dancers are presenting themselves to me, so do you think you are such a dancer, let me know! E-mail me!





Ispahan Blog no. 81: New designs in the shop.. it's Spring Time!

..and this Easter (from 13 - 22 March 2013) your Easter prezzies are delivered free of charge (for standard delivery)! Only condition: The Shopping Basket needs to contain at least two products. The voucher code for this campaign is EASTER2013.

Go to the Ispahan Shop HERE! (Or take a look at our Merchandise page)
Thank you for celebrating Spring with us!






Ispahan Blog no. 80: ISPAHAN runs free!

For most artists goes, that inspiration will only flow if it can run free. Art and rules don't go well together, and restrictions of any kind, being forced into a certain direction, obstruction and certainly (mental) sabotage are usually cause for conflict, as anyone could understand, but for artists it also leads to being drained of their creative powers and they will rise against it. Again it has become clear that artists are not 'average' people, nore do they want to be.

Since two weeks an amazing change has happened in my life. I feel so much lighter and all kinds of things have been falling into place. Creative outbursts. Lots and lots of ideas. I have so much confidence in the future, I could dance! ;-)





Ispahan Blog no. 79: ISPAHAN turning the page..

Anyone who knows me, is an Ispahan fan, or has been very perceptive has already noticed: there has been quite a dramatic change in the dance company, recently. Obviously, these things don't happen over night and a lot of thought has gone into thinking about the future of this love of mine, that I have founded and spend more time on, than most of you do at your day jobs. You just don't give that up that easily. Or without good reason. But instead of closing the book, which for a long time seemed the only option, I have decided to turn a page and the story will continue. Ispahan is still alive and kicking. At least inside my head, were ideas bubble up al the time.

On these pages you will still find the reasons why I created the dance company, which are still very much alive and I hope that one day, in whatever shape or form, Ispahan will flourish again. The Magazine will continue of course, it will not be affected at all by these recent events. Turning the page is a fresh breath of air, newly found inspiration, freedom and most of all taking back my power over my own creation. And although endings are seldom a lot of fun, this decision was the best I could make. Stay tuned!





Ispahan Blog no. 78: ISPAHAN Magazine No.5/ Winter Issue
'Sparkles Galore!'

The new ISPAHAN Magazine is online, and you can read it for free! Just click on the link and you will be redirected. And we kindly ask you, if you've enjoyed reading the magazine, to please join the ISPAHAN Magazine Group on Facebook!

ISPAHAN Magazine (click here)
ISPAHAN Magazine on Facebook (click here)






Ispahan Blog no. 77: Reinventing Ispahan

It is the new year and Ispahan almost feels like a brand new group! It is a whole new fibe. We are working hard on new choreographies and are open for new group members: so if you are keen, please let us know! And we have gotten an invitation to dance at our dear Asiya's party again, were it all started for us in the spring of 2011! We are so very happy to return to the lovely Raksa Gamila girls, were the athmosphere is super. Who knows what more will be in store for us! We'll keep you informed!




Ispahan Blog no. 76: Ispahan Magazine 5 is almost coming!

If you would like to contribute to this issue or advertise in it, get in touch now! The Advertisement Deal (advertise for free!) expires on 31.12.2012, so write to us via or visit our Ispahan Magazine Facebook page to read all specifications. We would love to hear from you!





Ispahan Blog no. 75: A very merry Christmas and a happy New Year!

We wish you all a warm and loving Christmas time, may you be surrounded by family and loved ones, sharing stories and food together, sitting by the fire. A blessed time to pause our busy lives and be thankful for the people we sometimes take for granted, for it is them that truly matter.

So to all of our grandparents, parents, spouses, brothers, sisters, childern and grandchildern, we raise our glass and we thank them for being in our lives. The gold decoration in the Christmas tree symbolises you, the gold of our lives. And for the new year, 2013, we wish you love, peace, health and happiness!

Lots of love from the Ispahan Ladies.




Ispahan Blog no. 74: Ispahan Magazine on Facebook

Your favorite magazine can now also be found on Social Media! Simply go to the Ispahan Magazine Facebook Page and apply for membership..




Ispahan Blog no. 73: Are we looking for you..?

Ispahan is looking for new members! Are you a solo dancer, living in the south of the Netherlands, are you motivated, ambitious and do you have a professional attitude? Think about it! It would be your best Christmas gift to yourself. Please e-mail us if you have any questions or want more information. Soon, you could be on these pages too!




Ispahan Blog no. 72: Big news..

Because our workshop at Mundo Oriental was so much fun to do and we got such nice and positive responses afterwards, we would really love to do this again! So for the next year, we are planning another 'Ispahan-4- Flexibility' workshop! This time in our own 'back yard' (in The Netherlands, close to the border of Germany and Belgium) and with some changes in the program (for instance: we will include several practical exercises to get over stage fright). Soon, more info will follow!
Are you game?!



Ispahan Blog no. 71: And there it is!
It has been a real 'tour de force' but, as planned, the new issue of ISPAHAN Magazine has been born on the 01st of November. To read, just click on the link!




Ispahan Blog no. 70: Working on the new Magazine!

After all the excitement and (dance) action of the last month or so, the making of the new ISPAHAN Magazine has now top priority!Do you like to write, do you feel passionate about a certain subject, do you want to share your experiences..? Feel free to send in your copy to: (check out the possibilities on page 136 of the previous Magazine, via this link: Ispahan Magazine). The deadline has been moved: you still have about a week to send us your material.





Ispahan Blog no. 69: Mundo Oriental was the best!

We would like to thank Amira Shazadi for a wonderful day and a perfect way to 'end' our dance season 2012..! We had so much fun the whole day long: from the car ride to the venue, to the workshop (that you all, participants!!), to the backstage (lovely to meet all of you, lovely and beautiful dancers!!) and the show. Also a big thanks to the audience, who turned up massively, wow! The atmosphere was great and we are proud to have been part of such a lovely show! We hope to see you again next year!!



Ispahan Blog no. 68: Ispahan at Mundo Oriental's Gala Show!

We are very exited to revisit Mundo Oriental: last year we performed at the Afternoon Show.. and this year we will be at Mundo Oriental's Gala Show!! On Saturday the 13th of October, so that's week already! We had to make some last minute alterations, as these things go (change being a constant factor *lol*), but that only shows that our Workshop theme (also at this Festival, called: 'Ispahan 4 Flexibility') strikingly applies to us as a group and will also benefit all dancers in this occupation. Since we know how much fun this festival is, from being there last year, we are very looking forward to this event..

And there are still some tickets for this Gala Show!!! You know the weather is going to s*** and you will have so much fun at this very well organised and lovely Festival! So call some friends, get your tickets (cheaper in advance, but also available at the door) through this link or call Amira, if you live outside of Germany and the delivery through the mail might not reach you in time.

There will be, next to Ispahan of course, al lot of Internation Oriental Dance Stars, such as Nelly * Alexei * Sophie * Izida * Ali * Mokhles * Amira herself and many more!

See you there!!

PS: There's also a Fall promotion at the Ispahan Shop!


Ispahan Blog no. 67: Our first Ispahan Workshop - Fully Booked!

We are very proud, obviously..! We hope our -4- Flexibility Workshop will be received well and are still working hard on it. It is not an average workshop, but we still hope to be able to transmit what we have learned so far, by simply being a dance group and doing our utmost to do this well, in perhaps a non-typical way. We would like to take this opportunity to thank all who have applied, as well as Amira for organising it. We hope you will have a great time! See you soon!



Ispahan Blog no. 66: Stevie Khaleegy.. ;-)

Today we've been a bit naughty... and mixed a lovely Khaleegy with some Stevie Wonder.. I guess girls just wanna have fun!! We showed off our new Khaleegy dresses, which today we were wearing over our Cane Dance dresses..very colourful and a lot of big sleeves! Check out the performance video! :-))



Ispahan Blog no. 65: Having any plans for the weekend yet..?! (2)

Ispahan will be performing another new choreo and again in brand new costumes at this lovely festival, the former Miep Party, now Belly 2 Belly in Belgium! We will be doing our take on the beautiful Khaleegy dance. This Halfa will be packed with lots and lots of performances, the whole day long and the admission fee is very reasonable, so you can take your entire family with you! There is also a lovely small basar. Come and see us dance on Saturday 30 September! Yay!

For more info go here!



Ispahan Blog no. 64: You can't take the dance out of the girl..! ;-)

Even on vacation, you can take the girl out of the dancegroup (for just a little while), but you can't take the dance out of the girl! Ispahan in La douce France..
Go-Go-Go Zahiriz! Alors on dance!!



Ispahan Blog no. 63: Shop Celebration

To celebrate the ten years of Spreadshirt, you get a € 10,00 discount on your order, for the next ten days! Take this opportunity to shop some new Autumn shirts or hoodies, sportswear or laptopcovers... Go to this page for more info!




Ispahan Blog no. 62: Ispahan Melaya Leff!

After a making the Melaya Leff choreo ourselves, as well as the design of the costumes, it finally was time to perform..! And we had so much fun doing so at Leyla Jouvana's Orient Party in Duisburg (DTL)! The atmosphere was lovely, Leyla took care of food and drinks, music and lighting.. so all we had to do was show up, get dressed, get on stage and take a bow! Thank you, cheerful and enthusiastic audience, thank you Leyla & Roland..For a couple of hours, it was a hot summer evening!




Ispahan Blog no. 61: Having any plans for the weekend yet..?!

This saturday, we will be performing at Leyla Jouvana's Orient Party!! Come and see us dance..!! Doors open at 19.30 hours and for more info, please check: Leyla's Website. We will have a brand new (Melaya Leff) choreo for you AND brand new outfits.. so don't miss it! We would LOVE to see you this weekend.. and bring a friend, too! It will be so much fun.. there will be a lot of performances, food & drinks, a basar and disco at the end! See you then!!




Ispahan Blog no. 60: On a more serious note..

As you can see and read on this web site, Ispahan is a dance company of women that enjoy dancing. 'So what?', you might think, 'What's the news there?' But there is something you might not know about. It is about men and women who think that we, by dancing, are doing something awful. Dancing. In Afganistan, people were killed for dancing, yesterday. And apparently, a lot of people (again: men and women) think it is okay to rape dancers. For dancing. For being a dancer. In some area's in the world dancing is forbidden, violence against anyone that dances is encouraged. We don't talk about that, usually. Perhaps we should. By dancing we celebrate life and it is outrageous that we should be at risk of loosing ours for doing so, getting harmed, being disrespected. What does this have to do with you? Plenty, if you (consciously or unconscious) look down on us, dancers. If you think Oriental Dancing is for 'loose' women. People have been dancing since the beginning of time, it is in our souls and DNA. And when we dance for you, we are not coming on to you. And no, not all dancers do this with propriety and self respect, but that does not mean they should not be respected. Please read this Blog from Charlotte Desorgher and get aware of what is going on, in secret, in the Belly dance world: click here




Ispahan Blog no. 59: A long hot summer night..

And there it was.. The weather gods were more than generous and when you put seven girls together, all bearing food, what more can you ask for!? Sunshine, haute cuisine, lovely companionship.. those were the ingredients of our third roof top party.. How wonderful that all our Ispahan Ladies were present. And we topped it off with a genuine shooting star! A perfect end to our 'day'...

All seven Ispahan Ladies on a roof top.. there was lots to talk about!



Ispahan Blog no. 58: It's our Birthday!! Yuy!!

Ispahan will celebrate her second birthday this tuesday! (Ispahan was founded in July 2010, but we had our first official Ispahan Party at the 14th of August.) Two years.. does not sound like a lot when you say it out loud, but boy..! We have done so much in those two years! So this weekend, we will dust off the rooftop again and party!



Ispahan Blog no. 57: ISPAHAN MAGAZINE No.3!

Very proud to announce the Summer Edition of ISPAHAN Magazine: the Flying Carpet Issue! A big thanks to all contributors of this and the previous magazines. ISPAHAN Magazine is a quarterly magazine, so there will be one more in 2012.. If you are interested in advertising in this next issue, please write to us, via:

Please click on 'Expand' to read!

Ispahan Magazine is a free, online magazine for Oriental Dancers. If you have any questions, please write to us, via:
Have a great summer, everyone!




Ispahan Blog no. 56: Another bit of Persian (and Western) history..

Now that most of us have some time off, vacation is on it's way, we would like to point out this great read to you: 'Persian Fire, the first world empire and the battle for the West', by Tom Holland. (Also available in Dutch as: 'Perzisch Vuur'.) The book describes the very first "clash of empires" between East and West, some 2500 years ago. Revealing extraordinary parallels between the ancient world and the present, this history takes in the entire sweep of the Persian Wars. You will be amazed by some of the details in the book and find the origin of proverbs, phrases, sayings and expressions we still use today! Also, the birth of democracy and the referendum is being described, as well as their shortcomings. The Greek (barely) manage to stop the expansion of the (already vast) Persian empire, a decisive factor in Western history. A must read for history lovers and anyone who tries to understand today's politics.



Ispahan Blog no. 55: ISPAHAN Magazine no.3..

Working hard on the new magazine! Would you like to place and add or send in copy? Do it now!



Ispahan Blog no. 54: A trip down memory lane..

This photo was taken on the day of our very first performance as ISPAHAN, how time flies! And it's wonderful that all the ladies in the picture are still with us, plus some lovely new ones too!! In a couple of weeks, we will be celebrating our Ispahan's Birthday Bash again... and we are gettin' ready for some new performances, so check out that calender and come join us!



Ispahan Blog no. 53: New in the Ispahan Shop..

We'll be celebrating International T-Shirt Day soon and we are inviting everybody who wears and loves t-shirts to join us. On 21 June, we will take over the costs for delivery on all orders, NO minimum order value! For more info, please go to our shop: click here!



Ispahan Blog no. 52: Practise makes perfect (2)..

We are rehearsing a couple of new choreo's at the moment.. Khaleegy, Melaya Leff and our Ispahan Phantasy Mix..! Soon we will be performing them all for you! One thing is for sure: it is going to be colourful!



Ispahan Blog no. 51: ISPAHAN MAGAZINE No.2!


Please click on 'Expand' to read! Ispahan Magazine is a free, online magazine for Oriental Dancers. If you are interested in advertising in this magazine, please write to us, via:



Ispahan Blog no. 50: Les Roses D'Ispahan...


The roses of Ispahan in their sheath of moss,
the jasmines of Mosul, the orange blossoms,
have a fragrance less fresh, an aroma less sweet,
O pale Leila, than your light breath!

Your lips are coral and your light laughter
has a softer and lovelier sound than rippling water,
lovelier than the joyous breeze that rocks the orange-tree,
lovelier than the bird that sings near its nest of moss.

But the subtle fragrance of the roses in their moss,
the breeze that plays around the orange-tree
and the spring-water flowing with its plaintive murmur
have a more certain charm than your fickle love!

O Leila, ever since in their airy flight
all the kisses have fled from your lips so sweet,
there is no longer any fragrance from the pale orange-tree,
no heavenly aroma from the roses in the moss.

The bird, in its nest of moist feathers or moss,
sings no more among the roses and orange-trees;
the springs in the gardens have lost their soft song;
and dawn no longer gilds the pure and weightless sky.

Oh, if only your youthful love, that light butterfly,
would return to my heart on swift and gentle wings,
and perfume once more the orange blossom
and the roses of Ispahan in their sheath of moss.




Ispahan Blog no. 49: Ispahan's night on the town!

We had so much fun, going out together.., we MUST do that again soon!! Luckely there are lost of fun dates ahead of us.. Our Wednesdays at Shujana's and Ispahan's birthday bash number three, in August. It is going to be a long, hot summer!



Ispahan Blog no. 48: Practice makes perfect!

Wondering what we're up to these days? Well, Ispahan is practising hard and also doing fun stuff, like going out to dinner together..! Yum...! Also, we are preparing a brand new -bigger and better- issue of the Ispahan Magazine that we are very exhited about (click here for our very first issue!), are talking about new costumes a lot (duh!) and are teaching our choreographies to our two new Ispahan members..
If you would like to contribute in any way to the next Ispahan Magazine, please don't wait or hesitate and click here in order to get in touch! We would love to hear from you!


Ispahan Blog no. 47: Ispahan Roses..

Summer is right around the corner, you can almost smell it. The smell of roses. And women open up like roses and dance.. and in doing so, they spread the sweet and delicate smell of Rose d'Isfahan, also known as Pompon des Princes. This paragon amongst Damask roses has been seen growing wild on the hills of Iran, especially between Shiraz and the old caravan trading center of Ispahan. Residents of Shiraz still grow it in their walled gardens, where plants and pools are a release from the hot, dry land outside. When in full bloom, the bush is covered until it looks like a fountain of pink.

(from: 100 old roses for the American Garden)



Ispahan Blog no. 46: ISPAHAN MAGAZINE!!



The very first issue of Ispahan Magazine, a free online magazine for Oriental dancers! We are very proud to presend it to you! Interested in this magazine: subscribe via the web site (click on Expand to read & subscribe). Thank you very much for your time!


Ispahan Blog no. 45: Ispahan welcomes Zahiriz!

Ispahan is delighted to announce that we have found yet another beautiful Oriental Dancer willing to join us! Yuy!! We are on a roll! We are very proud to introduce her to you: our new Ispahan Lady is called Zahiriz! Very soon, more information on this lovely dancin' lady with international roots and very creative skills, will appear on this web site: so please check in regularly!

Welcome, Zahiriz, welcome at ISPAHAN!!

And history repeats itself: we are celebrating Zahiriz arrival with (amongst other things) brand new (sporty) products in our Ispahan shop. Check it out! Click here.



Ispahan Blog no. 44: Persian Poetry

The book: The Rose Garden of Persia, published in 1899 is a joy to read, as well as to look at. It is filled with these beautyful pages:

'The softest and the richest language in the world is the Persian: it is so peculiarly adapted to the purposes of Poetry.. [ ]' More here..!



Ispahan Blog no. 43: Happy International Women's Day!

Our wish for you, is that soon every women in the world will be free and able to joyfully dance, with dignity, pride and respect, in liberty and safety, being able to express themselves through this beautiful artform!



Ispahan Blog no. 42: Ispahan mystery No. 2

Now it is back to rehearsing again, eventhough we have barely recovered from our performance in Aachen! Learning some new choreos AND.... having a new little secret to tell! Is it a new Ispahan Lady? Only time will tell!! What can I say... you will just have to keep on reading these pages to find out! Until soon....!

PS: What is Persian and also very mysterious? Persian Calligraphy! Here are some examples and a link (click here).



Ispahan Blog no. 41: Ispahan at the Gala Oriental!

Sooo sad it is over, already... We had so much fun, performing in Aachen...! A big 'Thank You' to all the fans that came to watch us and cheer us on! We hope you have enjoyed the show. A warm 'hope to see you soon' to the lovely people we met there and had nice conversations with. And our sincere gratitude for all the compliments we received! We are proud to say, that our new choreography was received very wel and it was a real boost to here you all applaud in tune with our music.. And a very big thanks to the organisation, it was done to perfection and we felt very welcome. Until next year, we hope!!
Please see this page, for a glimpse of our performance!



Ispahan Blog no. 40: Ispahan Abroad again..! 

It is getting closer and closer, our performance in Aachen (DTL) is near! We have had to overcome some difficulties while practising (one of our lovely Ispahan Ladies is injured and cannot join us, another one has joined our group merely a few weeks ago and had to study hard on our new choreography and yet another Ispahan Lady is enjoying a well deserved and long stay in sunny India..), but we are Ready to Rumble! With a brand new choreography we made ourselves (as usual), new costumes and a music mix we have come up with, we hope to rock the stage. Wanna come and see? Click here for the details of this festival!



Ispahan Blog no. 39: Artistic Ispahan!

This weekend, our very own Shujana was given the opportunity to wear a designer costume (made by Giovanni Biasiolo, hair by Valerie, make-up by Lyna) at the International Belly Dance Festival (Heerlen/ NL) and perform in it!

We are super proud of our daredevil dancer! It took some guts, but as you know: 'No Guts No Glory' and glory there was!!! We hope this will be an inspiration to us (Ispahan) and to all, to sometimes take a risk and do bold things that are out of your comfort zone..! It pays off (well, most of the time ;-) !!


Ispahan Blog no. 38: Ispahan's Valentine's Day offer!

As you can read below, the Goddess Anahit spread love by sprinkling rose water and roses throughout the land.. What a great idea for Valentine's Day! Ispahan has a special, red colored, offer for you, in our shop. On anything red..! Celebrate the new year with this brilliant colour! Go to the shop: click here!


Ispahan Blog no. 37: Ispahan Rehearsal!

Ispahan, The Movie! Haha.. just having a bit of fun! As you can see for yourselves, we have good chemistry between us!



Ispahan Blog no. 36: the Persian Goddess of Dance.

Anahita (4th century BC) or 'Aredvi Sura Anahita', is the Lady of Beasts and the Goddess of Sacred Dance. Her name is Ardwisur Anahid or Nahid in Middle- and Modern Persian. Her sacred beasts were the bull and lion, the latter connecting her to both Sumerian Lilith and Diana of Ephesus. Anahita was also known as Persian Artemis, reflecting her similarity to both Ishtar, Astarte and Venus. This mother-goddess was ruler of waters ('all the waters of the world originate from the source Aredvi Sura Anahita'), goddess of wisdom and healing.

left: Brass head bronze sculpture (2nd century BC) British Museum / right: reproduction

In Armenian mythology, she spread love by sprinkling rose water and roses throughout the land. In her honor, Armenians distribute roses and sprinkle water on one another. Astghik is still honored nowadays by Armenians worldwide by the Vartavar feast where people celebrate by water fights.
The temple(s) of Anahita at Ecbatana (Hamadan) in Medea, must have once been the most glorious sanctuaries in the known world: gilded columns, gold bricks and silver tiles. Temples dedicated to her, often had canals for water streams. In Iranic mythology, the Goddess Anahita is the virgin mother of the Sun-God Mithra.

A plaque from Achaemenid times depicting Artaxerxes II (404-359 BC ) and goddess Anahita, riding a lion – in the background is the clear depiction of the sun.

The Lion and the Sun have existed as potent mythological symbols of Iran for thousands of years. While true that the background colors of Iranian flags have varied across the centuries, the Lion and Sun motifs have endured the test of time.


Ispahan Blog no. 35: Great Expectations.. !

The new year promises to be an adventures one.. and we are ready for it!
With Yazzmin as a new member of the group, working on new choreographies and lovely hafla's to look forward to, 2012 promises to be as exhiting as last year has been.

Soon, on the 25th of February, we will be performing in Aachen, Germany at a benefitperformance event and later this year you will be able to see us on stage at the Gala Show of the Mundo Oriental festval (also in Germany). We will be hosting a workshop there as well! If you want to get all the details on these performances and more, please check this page: Events (link) regularly. We hope that the new year will bring us lost of creativity, joy, health and new exhiting working relationships, within as well as outside the 'belly dance world'. Soon, we hope te be able to tell you all about this! So please join us, we are looking forward to meet you!


Ispahan Blog no. 34: ...a bit of Persian history!

In Europe, we grew up in the midst of Roman and Greek ruins and very seldom did we hear about the great empire that came before that… the Persian Empire.

Cyrus the Great was the founder of the Achaemenid Empire (ca. 550 B.C. – 336 B.C.). Under his rule, the empire embraced all the previous civilized states of the ancient Near East, expanded vastly and eventually conquered most of Southwest Asia and much of Central Asia, parts of Europe and Caucasus. From the Mediterranean sea and Hellespont in the west to the Indus River in the east, Cyrus the Great created the largest empire the world had yet seen.

He respected the customs and religions of the lands he conquered. It is said that in universal history, the role of the Achaemenid Empire founded by Cyrus lies in its very successful model for centralized administration and establishing a government working to the advantage and profit of its subjects. Cyrus the Great is also well recognized for his achievements in human rights, politics, and military strategy, as well as his influence on both Eastern and Western civilizations. Cyrus and, indeed, the Achaemenid influence in the ancient world also extended as far as Athens, where many Athenians adopted aspects of the Achaemenid Persian culture as their own, in a reciprocal cultural exchange.

Reading about this empire and its rulers, it becomes clear that a lot of what we perceive to be the inheritance of the Romans or Greek proves to be, in fact, of Persian origin.

Darius I (Darayavahuš) (550 – 486 BCE), or Darius the Great,
was the third king of the Achaemenid Empire.
Darius held the empire at its peak, then including Egypt, Kurdistan and parts of Greece.

Aeschylus, a (play) writer from Athens, describes the Persians around 500 B.C. as weak, decadent and barbaric (= anyone non-Greek), mostly because Persian women played an active role in everyday life, worked prestigious jobs and often named their children after themselves, whereas Greek women were only allowed to stay indoors! If you allowed your wife to be as important as yourself, you can’t be a real man, was how our ‘birthplace of democracy’ viewed things at the time! It was thought of as immoral and effeminate, that clothing at the Persian court was not that different in style, for men and women.

Hasht Behesht Palace, Ispahan (Palace of 8 heavens)

After the Pax Persia and Pax Romana, how long will the Pax Euro(pa) last? We will find out in 2012! (source: Wikipedia)



Ispahan Blog no. 33: Ispahan wishes you Happy Holidays!

Mmmm... waffles and dance! What a great combination..

-Please click on the picture, for our Christmas & New Years message to you!-



Ispahan Blog no. 32: Ispahan proudly presents..:

Ispahans newest and lovely addition, goes by the name of: Yazzmin! After leading a very fulfilled and rich life as (amongst other things) a performer and teacher of Oriental dance, this very experienced dancer decided the present is as good a time as any, to join a dance group and luckely, she chose ours! We are very proud to add this Oriental lady -who's roots originally lie in Syria and Turkey (in the Middle East, or: châvar-e miyâne in Persian)- to our team.
Read more about her background and dance experience: here.

Welcome Yazzmin, welcome at Ispahan!

We are celebrating Yazzmins arrival with (amongst other things) a brand new
New Years discount in our Ispahan shop. Check it out! Click here..



Ispahan Blog no. 31: Ispahan goes crazy!

Wondering why we're going crazy (this time)? Well..

Next to our very own sweat Belle (Shujana), bubbly mermaid Ariel (Iserona), lovely Cinderella (Zuheyra), beautiful Aurora (Azaryah) and myself (a.k.a. Alice in wonderland, formerly known as Kashka ;-), we were awaiting a true Yasmine to join us, at Ispahan Fairyland! And.. we might actually have found her! Wow, we are so happy! Soon, very soon, more on this new, mysterious and exotic Ispahan member.. on these pages!
(By the way: there is a spot for Snow White too.. If you're her, check this out ;-)



Ispahan Blog no. 30: Sparkling Ispahan!

Bellydancing is often described by outsiders, to be a glittery, kitsch world of bad taste and excessively garish entertainment. Girls love glitter, but are often ridiculed for it, when growing older. But were does this love of sparkly things come from?
As early as the year 1000, during the Kakatiya dynasty (India), the mining of precious gemstones peaked in the Kollur region (at the bank of Krishna River). It was one of the world's earliest diamond producing regions and it was there that the famous Kõh-i Nur diamond ("Mountain of Light" in Persian) was mined and originally named Madnayak, or “the King of Jewels” (and installed as a Goddess's eye in a temple). Through conquest and looting, this large diamond (described to be so valuabel, that it could feed the entire world for two and a half days!), along with loads of gold, pearls and ivory, fell into the hands of various Hindu, Mughal, Turkic, Afghan, Sikh and British rulers, who fought bitterly over it at various points in history.

Shah Jahan on his Peacock Throne (left) - replica of this throne on the right

The Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan (famous for building the Taj Mahal), had the stone placed into his ornate Peacock Throne. Then came the invasion of Nader Shah in 1739. Along with the Peacock Throne, Nader Shah also carried off the Koh-i-Noor to Persia. (It was allegedly Nader Shah who exclaimed 'Koh-i-Noor!' when he managed to obtain the famous stone, and this is how the stone gained its present name.) Legend is that one of Nader Shah's consorts supposedly said, "If a strong man should take five stones, and throw one north, one south, one east, and one west, and the last straight up into the air, and the space between filled with gold and gems, that would equal the value of the Koh-i-noor."

(crown jewels of Persia)

It was robbed again and found it’s way back to India (by the hands of Shah Shuja, ruler of Afghanistan who fled to Lahore), who gave it to the Maharaja (King) of Punjab, in exchange for the Sikh Maharaja persuading the Dutch East India Company to supply troops to help win back the Afghan throne!

Finally, in 1849, the British raised their flag on the citadel of Lahore and the Punjab was formally proclaimed to be part of the British Empire, and the beautiful diamond became part of the British crown jewels. The original peacock throne, also covered -top to bottom- with countless rubies and emeralds, disappeared around 1747. Later a new peacock throne was build in resemblance to the original one and this throne, along with other crown jewels that originate in India, are presently in Tehran, Iran.
(The Iranian crown jewels are considered so valuable that they are still used as a reserve to back Iranian currency. This important economic role is perhaps one reason why these jewels, undeniable symbols of Iran's monarchic past, have been retained by the current Islamic Republic.)
The collection is housed at The Treasury of National Jewels, situated inside the Central Bank of the Islamic Republic of Iran on Tehran's Ferdowsi Avenue. The Imperial crown jewels of Iran is the largest jewelry collection in the world.



Ispahan Blog no. 29: Ispahan reading..

On these cold, wet and foggy days, nothing beats being comfortably tucked in, sitting on your couch, sipping hot choco and reading a lovely book (besides dancin', that is ;-). We have another suggestion for you, from the 1820's no less. In the Introduction, it reads: 'Every cultivated Englishman who has not read The adventures of Hajji Baba of Ispahan (if, indeed, the Englishman who has read it not can, in the full meaning of the term, be described as cultivated) should at once proceed to remedy this defect in his education. If he be a normally constituted person, with a reasonably well-developed sense of humour, he will hardly lay the book aside until he has finished it.' No further encouragement needed!

It starts like this:
'My father, Kerbelai Hassan, was one of the most celebrated barbers of Ispahan. He was married, when only seventeen years of age, to the daughter of a chandler, who lived in the neighbourhood of his shop...'

Go to: Read this book (on the internet) - for free! Enjoy!


Ispahan Blog no. 28: Ispahan shopping!

With the temperatures dropping, it is good to have something warm at hand. Warm as well as stylish, of course! Go to our Ispahan shop for inspiration!

And you know: al revenues go to a good cause and colours can be customised! With these great sweaters: winter? Bring it on!!

(Did I mention, there is a special discount in November? Read all about it: here!)



Ispahan Blog no. 27: Autumn Leaves..

the falling leaves,
drifting by my window..
the falling leaves,
of red and gold..

Saying goodbye to summer is easier with these three tips: there is a nice discount in our shop, for purchases made on 29 and/or 30 Oktober.. (and shopping always makes you happy, no? ;-) (click here for more info), a beautiful performance by the Persian music & dance group Hoor in Heerlen (NL) on 4 December (click here) and there are pumpkins in abundance! Mmmm.. pumpkin soup! Furthermore, the Ispahan dancers are on a roll: Iserona obtained not one, but two dance certificates last week, we are looking forward to our very first official Ispahan meeting -slash- housewarming at Azaryah's, Kashka is hosting a workshop with the great Magdy El-Leisy and Shujana is working hard on her master aerobic degree! There are new Ispahan choreographies and costumes to work on, a brand new rehearsal regime (that takes some getting used to ;-) and other plan making that is strictly secret for now! There is no time for fall foliage or melancholia, we are having a ball!





Ispahan Blog no. 26: The 'cherry' on the cake!

In English, the expression goes: 'the icing on the cake', but in Dutch, we call it the cherry.. And it is no coinsidence, that cherries make fine (Persian) pastry and that the Albalou cherries from Teheran are famous!
Why am I talking about cherries on top of cakes? Well: our own Zuheyra has become first runner up, at the Dutch Championships for Bellydance, today!! We are super proud and happy.. Hurray, hurray!! After a year of lovely experiences as a dance group, celebrating our one year existence, exceeded by the wonderful news that we are welcome to dance at next year's Gala show at Mundo Oriental, this was the best way to end this 'season': with a shiny silver cup! Watch our happy contestant: here (please scroll down a bit).
Congrats, Zuheyra...and many hugs and kisses!

Ispahan Blog no. 25: and another interesting weekend..!

The European premiere of SIMORQ, by the Orchestra from Teheran, is taking place in Heerlen (the Netherlands) on sunday the 2nd of Oktober. This piece is based on “The Book of Kings” (the Shanameh), writen by the Persian Poet Ferdowsi. The Shanameh is 1000 years old and tells of the pride Iraniers take in their Persian history. The famous Iranian singer Homayoun Shajarian is soloist, Hooman Khalatbari is the director and the composer is the, in Landgraaf residing, Hamid Motebassem, a famous tar/setar player and member of the Dastan Ensemble. But that is not all. In honour of this premiere (filmed bij the BBC Persian TV, WRD and multiple Iranian broadcasting networks), there are workshops Iranian instruments, a lecture by dr. Shams Anwari, a video installation “The last Word” by Shirin Neshat, and the movie 'No one knows about Persian Cats' at SCHUNCK, Heerlen.
And last, but certainly not least, Zuheyra: one of our Ispahan members, is competing in de Dutch Bellydance Championships! We wish her lots of success and fun!



Ispahan Blog no. 24: What a weekend..!

A whole weekend of Belly Dancing, what a thrill! We are still enjoying the afterglow and will be for some time, I suspect! The Mundo Oriental and Belly-2-Belly festival were organised perfectly, we enjoyed dancing on stage so much and had a blast meeting fellow dancers and people in the audience. Soon there will be footage of both Hafla's on this page! So please check in regularly.


Ispahan Blog no. 23: Ispahan countdown..

Only two more weeks to go, until an entire weekend of Ispahan performances! On Saturday the 24th of September, we will be dancin' in Germany (near Duisburg) at the Mundo Oriental 2011 - International Dance Festival.

And one day later, on the 25th, we will be present in Maasmechelen (Belgium) at the Belly 2 Belly Festival (formerly known as Mieps Party)!

Please check our Agenda for more detailed information. Come and join us and dance along! We'd love to see you there!!
(For a personal story about the origin of the festival in Belgium, check this page (scroll down, all the way to the bottom of the page).

Ispahan Blog no. 22: Ispahan Bootcamp!

We were looking forward to it for the longest time and there it was: the Ispahan Bootcamp! Our oppurtunity to spend a couple of days together, to select music for new choreographies, to design these new choreo's, to practise them (along with rehearsing the 'old' ones) and talk about new costumes.. in short: evenything a dancin'girl loves to do! It was so much fun..! We are looking forward to the new season and showing you what we have come up with.. but not yet, as we still have to practise and practise, to make them perfect. Next on our list is a weekend of performances, in Germany and Belgium, at the end of September. You are very welcome: click here to get all the details!



Ispahan Blog no. 21: Ispahan on a hot tin roof..

On a sunny and (ofcourse!) oriental-styled roof terrace in our beloved province of Limburg (NL), we celebrated, ate & drank, listend to music, danced, laughed and made plans for the future, from the afternoon into the wee hours of the night! It was a long, hot, lovely day.. as you can see for yourself:



Next on our list (and minds!): the Ispahan Bootcamp! Soon we will be working our butts of, learning new choreographies! We'll keep you posted!


Ispahan Blog no. 20: Ispahan Abroad

What better way to celebrate our aniversary, than to perform on a beautiful boat in the lovely and romantic city of Koblenz (Germany), while the sun was setting, casting rays of sparkles on the water? We were greated so warm and felt so welcome! The audience was wonderful and sweet, we felt a true connection, the organisation treated us like stars and we are extremely grateful for the opportunity!

A big thanks to everyone!

Directly to pictures and video's: click here!
What's next? See this page for our tourschedual!!

Ispahan Blog no. 19: Ispahan's Birthday Bash..

New designs in the Ispahan Shirt celebrate our first birthday! And remember, if there are changes in colour or print, just e-mail us with your wishes! We can make these totally custom made for you.

Go directly to the Shop here..
Visit our Merchandise Page here..
and read all about our good cause (where the revenues of the shop to go) here!

Thanks you very much, in advance!


Ispahan Blog no. 18: it's Ispahan's Birthday!

In July 2010, Ispahan was founded and of course this calls for a celebration!! Yeehaa! Unbelievable that only one year has gone by, because of everything we have done so far, but at the same time... one year has gone by, already?! Really? Incredible! Time flies when you're having fun! Back then, we had a Kick-Off meeting on a hot roof, on the 14th of August. We talked, we laughed, we listened to music and dreamed of the future..! Not everyone was there.. and not everyone who was, is still with us, but we will certainly have our celebration there again! And we will talk some more, laugh some more and select new music for new choreographies..! Again there are wonderful things lying ahead (but we can't talk about it yet, it's a secret!!), so there is plenty to dream about! We hope to see you (again) at our new adventures! As for now:

Happy Birthday to us!

Interested in our story? Read all about it, here!
What about that name... Here's a bit about it's background
Thinking of joining us? Go to this page..
And if you're considering supporting our goal, click here!



Ispahan Blog no. 17: Great Summer Reads..

These are some great Isfahan/ Esfahan summer reads, we have selected for you:
* The Blood of Flowers, by Anita Amirrezvani (Dutch titel: Dochter van Isfahan)
ISBN 978-90-225-5324-4
This is the fictional story of a girl, growing up in seventeenth century's Iran and through her story, the reader gains insight of the life, culture, habits and customs of this periode.
(note: The English titel is a line taken from the poem "Ode to a Garden Carpet" by a unknown Soefi-poet, it dates from around 1500 and refers to the colour of the flowers.)

* Van Esfahan tot Efese, by Nanny de Vries (only available in Dutch)
ISBN 978-90-6410-478-7
This is a travel report of a Dutch couple, following the footsteps of ancient Persian Kings (from 646 b.c. to today), by traveling along the roads they build and discribing their conquests and rule over the vast empire of Persia. The writer is a historian and archeologist and she dives deep into Persia's history, thus being very scientific and thorough: a must for history lovers!

* Isfahan and its Palaces - statecraft, Shi'ism and the architecture of conviviality in early modern Iran, by Sussan Babaie (Edinburgh Studies in Islamic Art)
ISBN 978-0-7486-3375-3
Through research of Ispahan's art and architecture (specifically around 1501-1722), the book describes Isfahan as one of the most glorious cities ever build.
'[ ] No other palace like the Chehel Sotun, with its front occupied by an entirely open and light-filled pillared hall, had ever been built, be it in Iran or elsewhere in the Islamicate world..[ ]'


Ispahan Blog no. 16: Taking it to the NEXT LEVEL!

Ispahan is taking it one step further... We are going abroad, will be performing on 'real' podia and in international shows!! We are proud to announce that our next performances are taking us to Germany: to The Art Oriental Festival in Köln (Colone) and Mundo Oriental near Duisburg. These hafla's are next on our list and we can't wait! See this page for our tourschedual!!


Ispahan Blog no. 15: The Eternal River of Isfahan..

The city of Isfahan arose, a long time ago, at the banks of the Zãyandé-Rud (or Eternal River, the largest river on the central plateau of Iran), which origins from the Zagros Mountain Range. In the book "Daughter of Isfahan", the river is described as follows: 'This river gives life to the sweet melons of Isfahan, cools its streets and fills its wells, without this water, Isfahan could not exist. [ ] We left our camels [ ] and walked across the Bridge of Thirty-Three Arches. Halfway along the bridge we stopped to admire the view. 'Look!' I shouted, as the river raged savagely underneath us..[ ]'
Googling for this centuries old (built around 1600-1632, by Shah Abbas I) and famous bridge (also called: Si-o-Seh Pol), will result in fantastic images, like this one below, the bridge always beautifully reflected in the water of the Eternal River:

So you can imagine my suprise and horror, when my husband showed me this picture, taken by N. Khardina:

Showing a completely dried out river, the lifeline of the city and its origin seems to be gone. A powerdam has been built in the upstream of the river, providing electricity to the city, the article stated, and canals have been dug, needed for the always expanding city and its industry. Wikipedia states that also tunnels have been dug from the Karun River (Iran's largest river) to the Zayandeh River, to provide power and water for the growing population and new industries in the province. But drought seemes to be a problem throughout the region, leaving many streams dry or reduced significantly. A lot of the rivers inhabitants (fish, mainly) have died out, according to Heiko Bleher, a well known explorer and researcher of fish. The curious thing is that, apart from this picture, there is not a lot of information to be found on the internet concerning this drought. But a picture says more than a thousand words.. The Eternal River is no longer eternal, it seems.


Ispahan Blog no. 14: Disappearing act...!?

You might have noticed that, lately, there is one Ispahan-member missing..
Yes, Amira unfortunately has left our dance company for this moment. As we already stated, she's a busybody.. combining University with her Belly dance shop and much more.. There was simply nog enough time, to rehears and keep up, and this resulted in not being able to perform alongside us. We are very sad so see her go, but wish her well in all her current and future activities and hope maybe, one fine day, to be reunited again with this lovely Belly dancing lady!
Insha'Allah/ Deo Volente..

Amira & Iserona last saterday,
(at the MK Hafla) in her bazaar at the venue.


Ispahan Blog no. 13: The MK Festival!

Ispahan performed at the MK Hafla in Heerlen, last night! It was our third performance and we just keep on learning about group performances! How to adjust and adapt to a relative small stage, for instance! Our Cane dance needs a bit more space, we learned.. ;-) Trying to avoid hitting the audience, or our fellow groupmembers with the canes was a challenge. Also, cane-swaying and chandeliers do not mix really well.. apparently! But never mind the little asperities, we again got lots of praise concerning our outfits, our choreo's and especially for our radiant presence on stage and the obvious joy we have for dancing.. and that's totally awesome. Soon there will be more pics!

Our African Bellydrum dance, on stage, at the MK Hafla


Ispahan Blog no. 12: Hello Sunshine!

New designs at the shop.. and our promotion that is still valid for a couple of days..!! (Until 31. May). Check it out!
Directly to the shop: click here!

Ispahan Blog no. 11: A true team..

After many months of practise and rehearsals, this is the season to show our audience who we are and what we have been doing, all this time..! And although each of us, individually, has got years of experience in dancing and performing, dancing in this newly founded group is an entirely new chapter in the book. It feels like starting all over again, sometimes! Gradually but steadily, we learn to anticipate and respond to each other. On a personal level, we are hitting it off and we are glad to hear that it shows, on stage, because this is the one thing you can not rehears or train. We have become a true team, in every sense of the word. Motivation and dedication are important aspects to this. Travelling to rehearsals and performances together (which we always do) is in itself great fun! If you are contemplating joining a dance group, but are unsure, please contact us and we will tell you all you need to know, to be able to make a well-considered choice. We would be very happy to welcome eager dancers who are willing to make Ispahan a priority in their lives, to our team. Our next performance is just around the corner: on the 4 th of June. And we are happy to announce that the entire Ispahan team will be present and hope to see you there!

Directly to our Agenda / next performance info: click here!
Thinking of joining Ispahan? click here!
Do you have any questions? Please e-mail us!


Ispahan rehearsal


Ispahan Blog no. 10: World Belly Dance Day!

It was our second performance, yesterday and we had a blast! There were so many dear Belly Dance colleagues that it felt like a reunion. The line-up was very varied and the dances lovely, the atmosphere relaxed and we got lots of compliments as to our dances and costumes. In short: it was a great experience and we hope to be there again, next year!

Ispahan in costumes that we designed and embellished ourselves,
each slightly different, expressing our character and individuality!


Ispahan Blog no. 9: Summer updates!

Just a lilttle note from us, to let you know that the websites of two of our members have been updated..!
Iserona's website has undergone a total make-over! Including a new lay-out, new pictures and a great new video.
Kashka's website has become more user-friendly and a brand new slideshow has been added. Our shop offers an new May promotion: buy 4 tops and get one for free!!

Our next 'gig'? Click here for our next performance on the 14th of may!
Would you like to support us? Please go the Ispahan shop: click here!




Ispahan Blog no. 8: The Premiere Report!

Would you like to see more of Ispahan, see us dance, shine and most of all: see us have lots and lots of fun? Then go to this page: Photo's and video's, and watch our premiere performance! There are pictures, a glamourous slide-show and a video that will give you an impression of how much we loved to be part of the Raksa Gamila Jubilee. Not to speak bad of The Royal Wedding, but this was better, definately! ;-) Enjoy!!!

Directly to the pictures and video: click here!
Where is our next 'gig'? Click here for our next performance on the 14th of may!


Ispahan Blog no. 7: The Premiere!!

The Raksa Gamila party, yesterdag, was simply amazing..! We had such a good time and were treated like true princesses. Our own private dressingroom -with everything a dancing girl needs in it- in a great location, a super atmosphere created by the lovely Raksa-colleagues, lovely food and even a free workshop.. We felt extremely welcome and will never forget our Ispahan premiere! A big thank you, for Asiya and her girls (and boys!!;-)
Soon pictures, video's and more will appear on this website! Keep in touch!


Ispahan Blog no. 6, by Iserona!

Hello everyone! Allow me to share with you, why dancing at the Ispahan Oriental Dance Company is so special to me..
Being a solo artist has always been great fun and gave me the freedom to experiment. But none the less, I was also looking for a dance group were I could feel at home, be myself, an enviroment that would enable me to develop myself continuously and a place were I would find other dancers that were interested in this as well. I looked for such a group for quite a while...

Last summer, on Facebook, I noticed Kashka's call for dancers interested in forming a dance company. Since I had met her before, through one of my yoga workshops, I applied spontaneously. Many more applications followed and we got started! Starting a dance company requires some serious multi-tasking, I soon found out. It's a lot of work and it was quite intensive at times. Ispahan had its 'growing pains', as could be expected and some dancers found out that Ispahan's structure demanded investing more (time) than they had to give. In the mean time, however, Ispahan has moved on and developed a stable and strong foundation, a rocksolid 'core' and we have never been more motivated!

As a group, we brainstorm and decide together on music, choreography, choice of costumes and much more, thus developing as an individual as well as a group member. Dancing at Ispahan indeed offers room for individuality and also enables you to develop flexibility and cooperation skills: a concept that fits me well! Eventhough choreographing never was my strongsuit, being able to contribute to group choreos, suggesting moves, giving and getting postive feedback, makes it a lot easier and much more fun! It's an ongoing learning proces and you surely have to be willing and able to invest.

Do you want to be part of a dance company that is growing and developing, in which you can, - no you must!- contribute and put your mark on and that is open to a respectful cooperation? Than the Ispahan Oriental Dance Company might be the place for you too! Curious?
This sunday, on the 10th of April, you can witness our premiere-performance!
We are so super exited..!!

1001 greetings,

Directly to our Agenda / Premiere info: click here!
Joining Ispahan? click here!
More Iserona? click here!

Ispahan Blog no. 5: New designs!

...Just buzzin' by, to let you know there are some new spring-designs available in the shop and even an small Ispahan Mens collection! Yep, they want to support us too, but aren't really 'into' the girly stuff.. ;-)

Our €10,00 voucher is still valid! Scroll down for the code..


Directly to the shop: click here!

Ispahan Blog no. 4: Ispahan in the news..

Our premiere-date is getting closer and closer! We are working hard on our preparations and the tension is rising ;-) The media are picking up on the occasion. In the Tegelse Courant for instance, the following article was published in honour of the jubilee of the Raksa Gamila Dance school, on the 10th of April:

We'd love to meet you there, it will be a swell party! In case you are contemplating joining Ispahan, please also come and meet us! Ispahan always welcomes highly motivated and experienced dancers.

Directly to our Agenda / Premiere info: click here!
Joining Ispahan? click here!


Ispahan Blog no. 3: Spring deals..

Spring is in the air! To celebrate the approace of our Festive First Belly Dance Summer, we would like to offer you a sweet deal. This is the new Ispahan Exclusive collection, from our shop:

Swap your old rags for some new threads! Besides looking glam, there is another 'plus' side: On any purchase over €50,00 you will receive a €10,00 voucher!!

Voucher code for the EU: SPRING2011EU
Campaign duration: 15/03/11 — 04/04/11
Conditions: the voucher code is valid in all Spreadshirt shops and will reduce the total purchase amount by €10 for customers in the EU.

Directly to the shop: click here!


Ispahan Blog no. 2: Thank you very much!

Wow.. after launching the website two weeks ago, you send us lots of sweet congratulations and encouragements, for which we thank you! It's wonderful to feel so supported. In the mean time, the shop has been extended with additional products (see Events -> Merchandise), we have been busy rehearsing and the people of Cairo (our new costumes are being made there, as we speak!) were seen (and heard!) across the world... We even received a couple of requests to perform!
Spring is in the air!


ps: You can be present at our premiere on the 10th of April! See 'Events' in the menu above, for information on where and when!

Directly to our Agenda / Premiere info: click here!

Ispahan Blog no. 1: Hello!

How very exiting! Our very own website, enabling us to communicate with the world, letting everyone know we that we are alive and kicking! And to show you, how much we all love dancing… About dancing being a wonderful, creative art form, which exists in many forms, shapes and varieties. About dancing as an international language, enabling us to express ourselves. And we hope that through all of this, we will be able to inspire you to dance, even if it’s merely in your head.

This website is for you. Here, you will be able to read about the Ispahan Dance Company and its members, about our ambitions and goals, about our inspiration ánd about our forthcoming performances, off course. You will be able to contact us through email, ask questions, book us or just leave us a note. You will be able to here our story, the history and the ‘making off’.. and as a result, become, just a little bit, a part of our team. Welcome…!