NYC's Persian Day Parade
With spring comes all things beautiful and vibrant in the world, a time of renewal and rebirth: Colors, smells, smiling faces, music and celebration are all in order. In New York City this is no exception, and with the Persian New Year celebration of Nowruz upon us, the ancient holiday was proudly represented along Madison Avenue in the Ninth Annual Persian Day Parade. Dance troupes, singers, even variations of the lively Nowruz reveler Hajji Firuz (a Persian Santa Claus) made their appearances on the mild, Sunday afternoon to ring in the Iranian New Year. The ancient land of Persia, now modern-day Iran, encompasses multiple cultures that originated from this region, a pan-national melting pot that spilled over to neighboring lands. The Persian people spread to Iraq, Azerbaijan, Uzbekistan, Afghanistan, Armenia, Turkey, Georgia, and Northern Pakistan. Sunday's parade encompassed groups from all of these regions, bringing together the beautiful traditions from Persia's heritage. Julia Kulakova, talented dancer and good friend, performed with her troupe focusing on Kurdish dance, a form mainly done in celebration of Nowruz. Kulakova's style stems from Gypsy dance (not to be confused with Belly dance), a nomadic, free-spirited way of expression that has been translated in other cultures, including Persian - her dance vocabulary is as widespread as the Romani people themselves.
The parade began on Madison Avenue at East 38th Street and made its way down to East 26th Street at the entrance of Madison Square Park. With a group of proud Iranian-Americans closing out the procession, both the Iranian National Anthem along with what sounded like an Iranian Dance Club Anthem could be heard echoing down the avenue, floating through the many Iranian flags waving high. It was a powerful moment, seeing a group of people in the country where they live, shouting the name of the motherland whose relationship here is not the most stable. This was a day where all Iranians and Persians proudly showed the love of their culture without a moment of hesitation, something that should be able to happen everyday.
THE BARE FEET™ FIVE: 1. Next Year's Parade: The groups are already preparing for next year's parade, growing with each coming year and adding new troupes to dance and sing. Be sure to look out for next year's celebrations in early April 2013! 2. The New York Dance Parade: May 19th, 2012 marks the Sixth Annual NY Dance Parade, and a lot of the dancers from the Persian Day Parade will be present, including Julia Kulakova and her dancers (in case you missed them this weekend). Mark your calendars! A full day of dance and fun events for all ages, and it's FREE! 3. Classes with Julia Kulakova: Kulakova offers classes and workshops in various Gypsy and Persian-style dancing throughout New York City. For more information on her schedule, please go to NYGypsyDance.com. 4. Classical Persian Music: Some great recordings of Persian music include Persian and Middle Eastern Percussion - Zarbang as well as recordings by Persian classical and folk master Ostad Mohammad-Reza Lotfi. 5. What is that dance music? That infectious dance music heard in the Bare Feet™ video is bandari, now most commonly mixed for the dance club scene. You can't help but move when you hear it - a great song includes Aftab Labe Boome!