about the piece
Raha Nejad is among the most prolific urban dance and vogue dancers in Berlin. Among other things, she has made a name for herself with the way she utilises her hair in her dance. Despite growing up in Germany, she has retained a close connection to her parents’ home, Iran. For Raha Nejad, there is no doubt that her hair and her way of using it in her dance is what is “Persian” about her. Starting from this proposition, she investigates her attitudes towards Iran in “Persian Hair.” On the one hand, she feels the desire to learn more about herself and her roots, on the other hand, she is well aware of the cultural differences and diverging views of women. In the piece, she attempts to express this complexity through her dance.
Concept, Choreography: Christoph Winkler | Dance, Choreography: Raha Nejad | Set and Costumes: Lena Mody, Valentina Primavera | Head of Tech: Martin Pilz | Camera: Walter BickmannTanzforum Berlin | Production: ehrliche arbeit – freelance office for culture.
A Christoph Winkler and ehrliche arbeit production, co-produced by SOPHIENSÆLE and monsun.theater Hamburg. Made possible by the Governing Mayor of Berlin - Senate Chancellery - Cultural Affairs and the National Performance Netz (NPN) Coproduction Fund for Dance, which is funded by the Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media on the basis of a decision by the German Bundestag. Media partner: taz.die tageszeitung.
“Interestingly, it is primarily the two women engaged with the “Five Studies” whose contributions breathe artistic independence. Raha Nejad, who is apparently highly reputed in Berlin’s urban dance and voguing scene, performs an impressive solo. In “Study 3: Persian Hair” she cross-fades delicate Persian hand and step combinations with powerful club moves to the sound of techno beats, twirling her hair and her wrists as much as her hips. “Persian Hair” appears fresh and novel in the context of the contemporary dance scene, highly independent, and not bent to the shape of post-colonialism, even though it is legible as a confident statement for hybridisation” – Elena Philipp, tanzraumberlin.de
“A dance with glorious hair. Seductively wild. Self-determined and seemingly independent. Capital letters projected onto the wall tell us the emotional impetus of the piece: “Persian Hair”. The 20 minute solo is one of five studies on post-colonialism by the Berlin choreographer Christoph Winkler. To make the cultural differences between us and Iran conscious, he invites Raha Nejad to the stage - a Berliner with Persian roots and a feminine, power charged protagonist, who ultimately can only be brought to stillness with dry ice. While Nejad boldly and elegantly absorbs the posing vocabulary of body builders, she leaves little doubt of her inner strength. Tassels on her sleeves and boots highlight her Cow Girl look. But instead of lassoes, here long, open locks tied to pony tails and arms in artful loops are catapulted through the air. Under metallically whipping techno beats, an inextricable mix of oriental-delicate softness and typical club moves is unwound, impressing us with their massive severity. A volcanic quake unter the hair line.” – Vesna Mlakar - ABENDZEITUNG KULTUR