Marking the Persian New Year, the Persian Students Association’s Fifth Annual Norouz Cultural Show – “Zendegi: A Reflection of Our Lives” – showcased a wide array of Iranian culture that brought the audience to its feet at the Power Center Saturday night.
The show was a fusion between traditional Iranian and contemporary Iranian-American cultures. Dances, music, skits and a theatrical rendition of a modern Persian poem provided entertainment and comic relief. The show also touched on relevant issues affecting Iranian students today.
Nelofar Agharahimi, a PSA executive board member and an LSA sophomore, said President Bush’s labeling of Iran as an “axis of evil” did not affect the nature of the show.
“His latest State of the Union address directed support for the people of Iran instead of the government,” she said. “Our show is not about politics. It is about the people of Iran, Iranian-Americans and the display of our rich and wonderful culture.”
The show opened with a video footage showing Iranian history from ancient times to contemporary Iran. It touched on many of the important moments in Iranian history, such as the presence of Allied forces during World War II, the transformation of political power with the Shah and the 1979 Iranian Revolution that overthrew the Shah and brought Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini to power.
“The video was a good way to start the show,” LSA senior Linda Choo said. “If you come to a Persian cultural show, it’s always good to see dancing and funny skits. But it’s also good to see the history of the place.”
Students performed traditional dances showcasing the various dancing styles of Iran, such as the Kurdish, Azari, Bandari and modern dances.
The skits focused on many of the issues concerning Iranians and Iranian-Americans today. Such issues included the National Security Entry Exit System, which requires all male citizens of certain countries, including Iran, residing in the United States as non-citizens or non-permanent residents to register with the Immigration and Naturalization Service. The miscommunication existing between parents and their children due to cultural differences was depicted.
Other acts included “Sepideh,” a patriotic song performed with classical Persian instruments and “Inscription,” a theatrical performance of a modern Persian poem.
Many of the students who came to see the show had no prior knowledge of Persian culture and said they found the show educational.
“When I first think about Persia, I usually think about rugs, Aladdin and the Middle East,” Choo said, adding that these were largely preconceived notions about Persian culture.
“This was my first exposure to Persian culture,” Nursing sophomore Kelli Stewart said. “The show was educational, yet fun at the same time.”
“You could definitely see all the work that was put into the show,” LSA sophomore Kristin Reis said, adding that she particularly enjoyed “Sepideh.” “In a lot of the skits, you could see the merger between American and Persian cultures.”