I am an Iranian dancer, performer, choreographer, dance educator, and seeker of social justice through dance. I have also worked for nearly 20 years as a healthcare professional and researcher to reduce health disparities among people living with HIV. Now, armed with dance as my weapon, I want to make an impact through healing, creating beauty, enhancing knowledge, challenging stereotypes, and sharing a fleeting moment with another human. For many years, as a child, I studied and performed dances from various regions of Iran and later, as a young adult, I danced and performed New York-style Mambo, which is rooted in Afro-Cuban dancing. For the past few years, I have chosen to concentrate on Belly Dancing because it encompasses cultural elements that I feel most connected to, it is reflective of movement qualities that I identify with, and it connects me to the rich music from the region. In Iran and many neighboring countries, dance has been prosecuted and looked down upon. This is why it is crucial for me to uphold the art form and the language passed down across generations through movement. Through dance, I want to reclaim my ethnic identity, transmit cultural knowledge, and regain the cultural expressions and heritage that have been suppressed by colonial and imperialist powers.
Parya is a performer and instructor of dance. She first started Iranian dancing at the age of 6 with Farzaneh Kaboli in Iran and later joined the Anahita Dance Company under the direction of Nahid Kabiri. Performances ranged from classical Iranian to folkloric dances from various regions of Iran.
After moving to the U.S., Parya joined the New York-style Mambo dance company, Melaza, under the direction of April Genovese. Melaza performed at numerous events such as the Los Angeles, New York, and Boston Salsa Congresses.
After moving to San Francisco, Parya initiated belly dance classes with Suhaila Salimpour and fell in love with this dance form and the Salimpour Format. She is currently Suhaila Format Level 4 and Jamila Format Level 4 certified, is an instructor at the Salimpour School of Dance, and is a member of the Berkeley Salimpour Collective. In addition to her full-time work as a faculty member at UCSF, Parya completed an MFA in Dance at Saint Mary's College of California.
To view Parya's dance CV, click here.