Shahrokh Moshkin Ghalam and the Spirit of Dance

With artistic prowess and a touch of the divine, Shahrokh Moshkin Ghalam embodies the spirit of dance, his flowing movements and evocative formations are an enchanting and powerful display. A native of Khorramshahr and long-time resident of Paris, his vocation as a dancer evolved after studying art history and theatre at Paris 8 University. Shahrokh blends Persian mythology, poetry and dance, evoking a primal emotion that bewitches and enchants the viewer.

He is one of few performers today to infuse the contemporary with the historical. Artistic beauty, in its classical and pure form is embedded throughout. A meticulous man who clearly fires from all cylinders, he carefully pieces together every inch of a performance, no stone is left unturned and nothing escapes Shahrokh’s masterful eye.

I recently saw a performance by Shahrokh and, like the Sirens of Ancient Greece, he is able to envelope you, mind and soul, command your attention with a simple extension of the arm or leg, yet with a far more heavenly ending than that of the Sirens’. Most of his performances are inspired and informed by poetry, from the Classical Persian canon, Sa’adi, Nezami, Ferdowsi and Hafiz, to name a few.

Shahrokh’s most popular creation has been the Omar Khayyam Ballet, performed across many of Europe’s great cities. So bountiful in metaphor, it brings to life the words of one of Persia’s illustrious men of letters. It’s in this work where Shahrokh reaches for the divine, and succeeds in creating a glorious confluence of the material world with the transcendental.

In 2007, at the Persian Golden Lioness Awards, hosted by the World Academy of Arts, Literature and Media, of which Shahrokh was an awardee, he spoke of his deep-rooted love of dance. It was as one would expect, an articulate summary of why he has dedicated his life to furthering this tradition.

“Dance is part of me, an art which I have always appreciated, ever since my childhood. Dance is a major part of any culture, an image of mythology, people’s background and ways of life and even basic needs. My effort has been to introduce this art as equal as any other form of art; In my opinion dance is not entertainment but an art that represents an image of a culture.”

Shahrokh progresses in his creativity, never floundering, each performance is a testament to his passion, synthesizing multifarious cultural ingredients. As a man and artist respectively, dance is his all and everything.

When I witnessed his performance, it was the rhythmic precision which set my heart a flutter with joy and amazement. Simplistic movements can be the most thrilling when set to music. Shahrokh transforms into another being when in the midst of music, an angelic seraphim that absorbs every note.

Unlike a painting or a book, dance is an ephemeral joy, once over it’s gone forever, a dancer cannot recreate the exact moments the next time around, repeating it like a machine in a factory, this is what makes it so special. Shahrokh lays bare his soul in each performance, putting so much of his energy into it every single time, and this that makes his a master of his craft.