Romance and Revolution: A Leap of Faith at the Iranian National Ballet

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9780986941429: Romance and Revolution: A Leap of Faith at the Iranian National Ballet
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Set against the glamorous backdrop of the Iranian National Ballet Company in 1970s Tehran, awash with money thanks to the generous patronage of the Shah’s wife Farah Pahlavi known as the Shahbanu, ROMANCE AND REVOLUTION is the true story of Clair Symonds, a naïve 19 year old Jewish ballet dancer who grew up in South Africa during the era of apartheid and who sets off to Iran without even knowing where that country is, let alone anything about its rich history and culture. Within a few months of her arrival she has met and fallen in love with Arash Alizadeh, a dashing student of architecture five years her senior and whose passion in life, much to his father’s disdain, is classical dance - in addition to being a fierce critic of the Shah’s dictatorial regime. Nothing, it seems, can prevent Clair and Arash’s romance from moving rapidly towards marriage - even the opposition of their respective fathers. Having been seduced by the charm and allure of her dashing Iranian knight, Clair fails to take a stand against the Alizadeh family’s policy of keeping her Jewishness strictly under wraps. There were dark mutterings, even from Arash, of the Holocaust being a myth to justify the existence of Israel and to dampen down sympathy for the plight of the Palestinians. Not that such grand issues are of much concern to Clair - she is preoccupied with dancing the role of Zarema in The Fountain of Bakhchesarai and the great ballet classics which are part and parcel of the company’s lavish repertoire. Besides, she is hopelessly in love and any criticisms of Arash’s increasingly erratic behaviour fall on deaf ears. But Arash proves to be considerably more charming in courtship and seduction than in wedlock and matrimony - Clair seeing herself thrown into the arms of her new family rather than those of her husband. And in accepting the status quo she reluctantly becomes more sister than wife. Undeterred, Clair decides to marry Arash for a second time. Does love conquer all? Are religious and cultural differences insurmountable, as many would have us believe, meaning that any union between Jew and Muslim is doomed to failure from the outset?

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About the Author:

Clair Symonds - She might as well have been born with pointe shoes on her feet, for Clair Symonds was destined it seems, to spend the best part of her life in dance studios and ballet companies. Having grown up in apartheid South Africa, she enrolled at the Royal Ballet School in London at the age of 17. Two years later she successfully auditioned for the Iranian National Ballet Company - even though she had little idea of where that country was located. Performing soloist roles in many of the major classics, including Giselle, Swan Lake and Les Sylphides, she met and married her husband Arash Alizadeh while working there. She was subsequently engaged as a lead in the Irish Ballet Company based in Cork. She traveled all over the world with the Alexander Roy London Ballet Theatre performing in India, Taiwan, Malta and Brunei. She has appeared regularly at the London Coliseum as a dancer with the English National Opera - performing in numerous operas including The Mikado on no less than 85 occasions. Although she has always claimed that her ‘brains were in her feet’, she recently disproved that assertion by completing a Bachelor of Arts degree with the Open University.

Review:

As a former member of the Iranian National Ballet myself, I remember Clair's sharp and spectacular grandes jetées cleaving the air in the company s rehearsal studios. The 1979 Iranian Revolution was like a force of nature, an unstoppable wave that caught us all up and in its wake destroyed much of what was dear to us at the time. Dancers, though seemingly fragile, are usually extremely tough and down to earth people and it is these qualities that Clair Symonds brings to this most authentic and evocative memory of Tehran during those perilous times. --Jeremy Allen, Head of Artistic Staff, The Israel Ballet, Tel Aviv

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Book Description Mantua Books, Canada, 2013. Paperback. Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. Set against the glamorous backdrop of the Iranian National Ballet Company in 1970s Tehran, Romance and Revolution is the compelling memoir of Clair Symonds, a naive 19 year old Jewish dancer who grew up in apartheid South Africa, who sets off to join the national ballet company in Iran. Within a few months she has met and fallen in love with Arash Alizadeh, a dashing student of architecture. Much to both sets of parents disdain, they marry, although Clair s Jewish roots are kept strictly under wraps. But Arash proves to be more charming in courtship and seduction than in wedlock and matrimony. Undeterred, Clair decides to marry for a second time. Does love conquer all? Are religious and cultural differences insurmountable? Read and decide for yourself. Seller Inventory # AAG9780986941429

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Book Description Mantua Books, Canada, 2013. Paperback. Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. Set against the glamorous backdrop of the Iranian National Ballet Company in 1970s Tehran, Romance and Revolution is the compelling memoir of Clair Symonds, a naive 19 year old Jewish dancer who grew up in apartheid South Africa, who sets off to join the national ballet company in Iran. Within a few months she has met and fallen in love with Arash Alizadeh, a dashing student of architecture. Much to both sets of parents disdain, they marry, although Clair s Jewish roots are kept strictly under wraps. But Arash proves to be more charming in courtship and seduction than in wedlock and matrimony. Undeterred, Clair decides to marry for a second time. Does love conquer all? Are religious and cultural differences insurmountable? Read and decide for yourself. Seller Inventory # AAG9780986941429

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