In Iran’s capital, a vibrant youth culture pulses underneath the surface. Far from the glare of mainstream entertainment, young men drawn to the pulse of hip-hop rhythms spin, flip, and freeze in clandestine dance sessions across the city. This fascinating documentary, “Breakdance in Iran”, drops into the underground world of bboying and breakdancing in Tehran.
Breakdancing first exploded onto the streets of New York City in the 1970s, dazzling onlookers with its blend of rock movements and down-rock footwork. As hip-hop culture went global, the dance form spread rapidly, taking unique shape within each local context it reached. In Iran, breakdancing first surfaced in the 1980s through pirated VHS tapes smuggled into the country, which depicted bboying battles and moves. Though banned by authorities, these tapes quickly circulated among Iranian youth, sparking an obsession with replicating the athletic dance.
Largely self-taught and hidden from authorities, bboying culture has blossomed under the radar across Iranian cities over the past few decades. This documentary focuses on a crew of dedicated dancers based in Tehran who devote endless days to training and battling while navigating immense cultural and social hurdles. Their story elucidates the deeper impact of this global dance phenomenon on youth identity and community.
Farzin, one of Tehran’s top competitive bboys, recalls seeing iconic 80s films like Beat Street and Breakin’ as a child. While banned by Iran’s government, these movies engrossed him, their novel dance sequences, unlike anything he’d ever seen. As the access to video material grew via illegal satellite dishes, he zealously studied bboying techniques, driven by a passion for mastering the form. Farzin now dreams of competing at international tournaments, hopeful that Iran’s bboy talent will stun global audiences.
Milad, a pillar of Tehran’s breaking scene, began teaching dance lessons after years of self-training. His school strives to develop an authentic bboying methodology rooted in Iranian culture. By empowering youth to embrace dance and hip-hop as tools for self-expression, Milad aspires to shift society’s perspective on the oft-maligned art form.
The documentary centres on Milad’s acclaimed crew Rahaa, whose members have bonded in brotherhood thanks to countless days of training, battling, and dreaming. Though they face disapproval from authorities and families sceptical of Western culture, their devotion to dance remains unshakable. Each bboy vividly recounts the sparks of inspiration that changed their destinies, tying them to a global community of street dancers who dance to the same rebel rhythms.
Weaving candid interviews with electrifying performance footage, the documentary offers an unprecedented glimpse into Tehran’s flourishing, though obscured, hip-hop scene. These young dancers defy social norms through their love of an art form deemed threatening by Iran’s government. Breakdancing becomes their vehicle for channelling generational angst, fostering community, and igniting change – proving the tremendous power of artistic expression.
This documentary’s rare access and insider perspectives on Iranian youth culture make it a must-see for anyone interested in the global impact of hip-hop. It reveals Tehran’s vibrant creative spirit through stories untold until now. The film is currently seeking distribution and its producers invite potential partners and collaborators to get involved! To learn more about screening opportunities or options for acquisition please visit [link to documentary website/contact page].