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About Us

Our Story:
How the seeds of IDA were planted

The Beginnings...
Khadem and Khorsandi met at a workshop Khorsandi was teaching during her book-signing tour. At the time, Khadem was dancing and choreographing Iranian dance, but not yet teaching formal classes. Feeling that she wanted a deeper immersion dance experience, Khadem took Khorsandi's intensive course, and continued studying with her privately to become a certified instructor of the Shahrzad Technique. Because they were over 1,200 miles away from each other, Khadem learned through Khorsandi's recordings. Khadem sent videos to Khorsandi for performance analysis, and they would meet over Skype for coaching, repeating this process over and over. They made efforts to meet in person over the years for in-person coaching and eventually became friends and colleagues. They both continued to teach in-person classes and workshops.

Before the Pandemic...
Prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, Khadem and Khorsandi were mostly limited to teaching dance locally in-person or to traveling to other locations to reach students “seeneh beh seeneh” (literally “chest to chest”). They both felt it was important to not only share this beautiful dance form with non-Iranians around the world, but also, to work with dance students in Iran who are challenged by restrictions and lack of resources, and Iranians in the diaspora who want to continue to learn authentic Persian/Iranian dance, both as an art form and as a way to stay connected to their roots. Khorsandi and Khadem are extremely passionate about Persian/Iranian dance and sharing this beautiful art form with others.

Live Online Classes Were Not Enough
Due to the Pandemic of 2020, along with other dance teachers around the world, Khadem and Khorsandi moved to an online live platform. They found that even with the right technology, there were limitations that affected the experience of both the student and the teacher. New technical issues arose with lag time of music/video, which made giving accurate feedback to students, especially with regard to musicality, extremely challenging. Through online classes they were reaching more students globally, but offering class times that work for the range of schedules and time zones was still a challenge and there was no perfect time to schedule a class for all students.

Technology Did Not Solve All Problems
Live online classes have both lag in video and sound and scheduling issues. And while recorded classes do not have lag issues, they do not allow for adequate interaction between students and teachers.  Khorsandi and Khadem believe that individual coaching is an essential part of learning since this feedback ensures that dancers learn proper technique, refine artistic expression, and grow to their potential.

The Solution
The method through which Khadem had successfully learned Persian/Iranian dance from Khorsandi was a perfect method for teaching and learning dance--the process of taking recorded technique classes, submitting videos for analysis then follow with a live, individual coaching session. As a team, they realized this combination would eliminate the tech issues, resolve scheduling restrictions for students and would provide dancers with the essential individual feedback they deserve to learn and blossom as dancers. And Iranian Dance Academy was born.

Meet the Iranian Dance Academy Co-Founders

Iranian Dance Academy Cofounder Shahrzad Khorsandi
Shahrzad Khorsandi

An Iranian dancer, choreographer and dance educator living in California, Shahrzad is the founder of the non-profit organization, Shahrzad Dance Academy (SDA), and the performing ensemble, Shahrzad Dance Company (SDC). Shahrzad was born in Tehran, Iran and immigrated with her family to the U.S. in 1980, during the Iranian political revolution.  She has been involved in Persian/Iranian dance since childhood, studied Modern dance and Performance Art at California Institute of the Arts in Los Angeles, and graduated with honors with a BA in Dance, and an MA in Creative Arts from San Francisco State University, with a focus on Creative Arts Education. Her training in dance consists of Modern, Jazz, Ballet, West African, and Persian dance.  She has also dabbled in Flamenco, and Balinese dance.  She has served on the dance faculty at Solano College, Contra Costa College, Diablo Valley College, and Saint Mary’s College, teaching a variety of dance classes including, Modern, Jazz, Dance Production, World Dance, and Classical Persian Dance.  Shahrzad also serves as a guest lecturer at World Music and Dance classes in various colleges and universities.

Shahrzad’s choreographic process involves deep contemplation upon relevant concepts resulting  in engaging movement that stays true to its Persian/Iranian essence, woven intricately with Persian/Iranian music. Her mission is to educate the public about Persian/Iranian dance as a dynamic and expressive art form, high in artistic integrity as well as ancient beauty.  Beyond that Shahrzad uses Persian/Iranian dance as a tool to teach and promote humanity. Her unique approach to creating Persian dance has gained her international recognition as a pioneer in the field.
Shahrzad has created a pedagogy and a format for teaching Persian/Iranian dance, called Shahrzad Technique, and she teaches and performs globally. She is the author of the book, The Art of Persian Dance, and is a member of an international research team from Max Planck Institute in Frankfurt Germany, studying the effects of dance on the brain.

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Visit Shahrzad's website

Delsie Khadem-Ghaeini

is an Iranian dancer, dance educator and choreographer living in Colorado. She embodies the love of her Iranian (Persian) culture through dance. Born in Mashhad, Iran, Delsie has been an educator for over twenty years and is most fulfilled when she gets the opportunity to share her passion for dance with others. Delsie is a certified dancer and teacher in the Shahrzad Khorsandi Technique. In Colorado, she is a highly sought out performer and in private and public venues, festivals and cultural arts programs. Her artistic composition is best described as emotive, delicate, graceful and playful. Her audiences describe her as joyful, authentic and passionate.

Much of the recent growth in Persian dance visibility in Colorado are due to Delsie’s efforts. Delsie has been a guest teacher at the Colorado Ballet and other schools in Colorado and workshops she offers fill quickly. She is a Dance Cultural Ambassador of the Persian Cultural Circle of Denver where she teaches dance to community members for stage performance. She is also the Dance Teacher Leader with the Colorado Children’s Nowruz Foundation.

Delsie teaches weekly classes at Bella Diva World Dance studio in Glendale, Colorado. Her Persian-Iranian dance experience and performances include Classical Persian Miniature, Ruhowzi, Persian popular dance (Mehmooni), Baba Karam, and regional folk dances of Iran including Ghashghai, Lori, Bandari, Azari and Kordi. Delsie’s dance experience includes Egyptian Bellydance, Hip Hop, Flamenco, Bachata, Merengue and Cumbia as well as a competing salsa dancer.

At heart, Delsie is an activist and a passionate educator having spent years teaching math to underrepresented students in Colorado, Guatemala and at the University of Colorado at Boulder. When not dancing, Delsie is passionate about sharing her love for life, health, food and nature especially with her husband, son and daughter.

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Visit the Delsie Dances website

Iranian Dance Academy Cofounder Delsie Khadem-Ghaeini
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