Press Quotes

 

Part whirling dervish, part flamenco femme fatale, sensuous and audacious, Banafsheh’s dance is a mesmerizing foray into the body as trance mechanism; a DNA strand, supple, fluid and noble, come to life.

Victoria Looseleaf

Los Angeles Times


The perfect way to open ritual aspects of Persian dance to a wider audience while preserving the sense of participating in something sacred.

Anne Haskins

LA Weekly


NAMAH from Iran confirmed the power of musically focused, non-narrative dancing. Accompanied by percussive beats on skins, this trio of incantory dancers spiraled in tandem and around each other as if carried along by the desert wind.

Rita Feliciano

Dance Magazine


A group of performers who challenge stereotypes about Iranian identity, Banafsheh and ZARBANG's work is entertaining and revolutionary, both.

Vancouver Sun

Vancouver Sun


From the very beginning of Banafsheh’s performance, I realized that we are faced with something entirely different and distinctive from what has commonly been called Persian Dance. Banafsheh’s dance was not only a highly artistic and virtuosic work both in terms of choreography and execution, but also for the first time I was witnessing a dance that one could call contemporary or modern Persian Dance – a dance with its own artistic language, neither Eastern in the style of Arabic, Indian and Chinese, nor Western as in flamenco, Modern European or American. This dance is close to the essence of Persian culture with harmonious movement, insightful, connected to the music and above all, beautiful.
The dance form created by Banafsheh can only be called Banafsheh Dance. Much like how Lezgi Dance is reminiscent of Azari culture or flamenco is particular to Spain, etc, Banafsheh Dance can be representative of Persian culture.
Banafsheh Dance has another beauty, which comes from being borne in a period where dance is forbidden in our country. In essence, Banafsheh Dance is a heartfelt expression of our cultural and artistic needs that have been long oppressed. Luckily, unlike most of our modern music, both inside or outside of Iran, Banafsheh Dance is not backwards and regressive artistically. It is actually advancing on the path of becoming international.

Shokooh Mirzadegi

From the Archives of A Woman's View


Banafsheh presented a decidedly contemporary innovation to Persian dance, flamenco, trance states, and improvisation. In 'Axis of Love', she took the audience on a simple journey of ascension as she slowly raised her arms, all the while spinning. It could be said it was like the earth spinning; or, like a flower opening up to reach the sky's rays. As the program states, it was "...a structured improvisation exploring the familiar within the infinite.

Monique Molino

Voice of Dance


The highlight of the night was Banafsheh who was amazing to watch. She danced fluidly enough to be part of the music. She depicted the ultimate Persian woman. She moved perfectly in circles for an entire three minutes without a flaw, resembling the whirling dervishes of Sufism who spin in a trance to reach the point of perfect meditation.

Sadaf Baghbani

Red Magazine, Salt Lake City


Prayer #7, a breathtaking trance dance by Banafsheh and the two dancers of her NAMAH, would be right at home in a modern dance concert. Though never touching, the dancers stayed in touch - with one another and some force that propelled them. Banafsheh's solo, Axis of Love impressed because of her pure and transparent response to the music as performed by a fabulous trio from Los Angeles, Pejman Hadadi, Javid Afsari Rad, and Brad Dutz whose work proved to be one of the evening's many musical highlights.

Rita Feliciano

SF Bay Guardian


Banafsheh, a font of exquisite perpetual motion, is a temple frieze come to life, a one woman whirling dervish, trance spinning to a glorious percussive track as she beckons us into her exotic world.

Victoria Looseleaf

Los Angeles Times


With brilliantly played drums ZARBANG built a richly colored surface for the many-faced dance of Banafsheh who has the ability to combine different traditional roots to create one expression of dance and movement. Her uniquely fluid and supple hands and arm movements fit perfectly to the crystal clear and transparent sounds of Javid Afsari Rad’s Santur.

Stefan Franzen

Badische Zeitung, Germany


Banafsheh has mastered the lore of traditional Persian, flamenco and Tai Chi movement.

Lewis Segal

Los Angeles Times


Banafsheh's 'Prayer #7' was interesting to look at. The stylized and syncopated bowing, spinning and trance-like hair-tossing of 3 black clad women had variations that became mesmerizing.

Jennifer Fisher

Los Angeles Times


Banafsheh’s body moved in a trance, exuding a supernatural power as the vortex which seemed to take the submitting body higher and higher became really perceptible. At the end, in a spectacular finale she improvised on a Flamenco rhythm, and dance movements from the Middle East merged together with Iberian gestures.

Stefan Franzen

Badische Zeitung, Germany


Banafsheh and NAMAH shone brilliantly at the Festival of Iranian Theater in Hamburg. They presented a stirring fusion of traditional Persian dance with magnetic Sufi spinning and the powerful stomping of flamenco to an enthusiastic crowd.

Houshang Mahmood

The London Keyhan


If the television show, 'Are You Hot?' had a fraction of the heat that choreographer-dancer Banafsheh and her all female NAMAH generated at Japan America Theater, the show would have been a hit. Talk about sensual: Iranian- born, locally based Banafsheh, a purveyor of trance dancing and unabashed hair tossing, presented 'En/trance', two hours of exotic music and dance that fused ancient forms with postmodern punch. Most numbers were accompanied by ZARBANG, led by the extraordinary Pejman Hadadi, who opened with a blistering 50-minute set. Banafsheh continuously brought down the packed house with theatrical flair. Soraya Soltani's flowing chiffon and velvet harem-like costumes - including veils that would make Salome jealous -helped amp up the startlingly beautiful whirling dervish moves.

Victoria Looseleaf

Los Angeles Times


The fascinating dance and sounds of Persia transformed the concert hall to a landscape for the senses. Dancer and choreographer, Banafsheh translated the musical intensity and intricate nuances of ZARBANG with the language of her body. Her fluid movements were constantly dynamic, at times floating, then whirling at high speed, opening our vision to new dimensions. With complete mastery of her body, she exuded power down to the tips of her fingers.

Hans-Jugen Truol

Badische Zeitung, Germany


Banafsheh presented a decidedly contemporary innovation to Persian dance, flamenco, trance states, and improvisation. In 'Axis of Love', she took the audience on a simple journey of ascension as she slowly raised her arms, all the while spinning. It could be said it was like the earth spinning; or, like a flower opening up to reach the sky's rays. As the program states, it was "...a structured improvisation exploring the familiar within the infinite.

Monique Molino

Voice of Dance


Banafsheh presented a complete evening filled with spiritual mystery replete with wisdom and virtuosic dance technique, with special attention to improvisation. This very fulfilling evening took the audience through seven stages of a long and far-reaching journey filled with wishing, hope, enthusiasm, search and many trials to reach union. In this spiritual journey, prayer had a big role. All this was presented in a beautiful form influenced by Eastern practice and ancient thought yet expressed with modernism. Banafsheh and her ensemble are in a very solid place to have been invited to present the Persian sacred tradition in the context of the World Festival of Sacred Music, sharing their message of unification and humane understanding. We hail Banafsheh Sayyad, Pejman Hadadi and Hossein Behroozi- Nia.

Houshang Mahmood
A weekly Los Angeles Persian Magazine

Javanan


The three women from NAMAH wove gentle curlicues in space, indulged in unisons on the diagonal and articulated extremities in a manner that suggested the symmetries of some species of American modern dance. The music making, which featured composer Pejman Hadadi on Tombak, Daf and frame drums; Brad Dutz on Nagara and percussion, and Javid Afsari Rad on Santur, was downright bewitching.

Allan Ulrich

Voice of Dance


Pejman Hadadi and Brad Dutz’s musical backing was the perfect accompaniment for the elegant whirling of lead dancer Banafsheh and her talented ensemble.

Don Heckman

Los Angeles Times


Beautiful, meditative movement...Banafsheh is very ambitious in developing a new language, extending the dance into other areas and combining the miniature and Sama dance forms.

 

The San Francisco Ethnic Dance Festival Committee