Persian studies at UIUC


Persian/Iranian dance refers to the dance styles indigenous to Iran. Its name and style differ depending on the area, culture, and language of the local people, however. The style of dance found in most cities and among the diaspora is called /raqs/ in Persian. It is almost entirely performed to 6/8 time signatures (called /shish o hasht/). The dance itself is highly individualistic and relies on solo improvisational performances, much like other Iranian art forms such as music. Often, raqs are performed at relatively informal gatherings including, but not limited to, family meetings and formal social events like weddings.

Dancing is also part of various mystic religions, including Sufism. Dancing mystics (regardless of their religious identification) are called sana.