Pro Dance Center

It was 5 PM sharp as we entered Pro Dance Center in Irvine. There were a group of little ballerinas gathered after their class waiting for their parents to pick them up. Their happy, energetic faces were lit up and full of energy! Today we were meeting with Nasser Maddi, the owner of this center and a professional dancer with 16 years of experience from Belgium, choregraphing for music industry pros in Europe. His dance experience includes: 14 years of hip hop, break
dance and control dance; 7 years of Cuban salsa, Rue da, and meringue; 3 years jazz; and 1 year of ballroom. Nasser’s wife Maryam Sadollahy, married four years, is the friendly face you will see in the waiting room helping out, keeping things running smoothly and making sure everyone leaves happy!

Nasser was getting ready for his next class with two of his young dancers, Mel, 24, and Molly, 18. Both of the girls are members of Nasser’s performing group called the Pro Dancers. This group of professional dancers perform for video clips, films, celebratory functions, parties, and festivals. Today the dancers happily posed for our photographer and showed us their energetic moves!
Pro Dance Center offers classes like Salsa, Belly Dancing, Hip Hop, Persian, Freestyle, Ballet, Mommy & Me and more.

So make sure you stop by the Pro Dance Center in Irvine and take advantage of the special 10% discount off the first time sign up fee as well as a free first class… exclusively for OCPC readers! And while you’re there, make sure you stop by the Pro Dancewear Boutique where you can find an eclectic selection of dance gear as well as gift items!

Literature The Powerful Words of an Iranian Woman

Farideh Goldin is the author of Wedding Song: Memoirs of an Iranian Jewish Woman. In addition to her own stories which have been widely published, Farideh has shared her knowledge of Iranian Jews, Iranian Jewish life under Islam, Iranian Jewish women, their lives and literature with audiences in the U.S. and abroad…

Read on to learn more about this talented Iranian author:

Q. Tell us about your background and education as a writer.

A: I studied English Lit at Pahlavi U. Before the Revolution, I transferred to Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Virginia for my senior year, where I received my BA. I married, had my daughters and then went back to school. I had been a pretty good writer in Iran and I missed that, but my English, I felt, wasn’t adequate. I was also shy about writing. I received my MA in Humanities, which was great. They allowed me to design my own program. For the first time, I read books by International women. This opened the door to a world I had never imagined, quite different from the classics, for example, Shakespeare or Chaucer, or even Thomas Hardy, Mark Twain or Ernest Hemingway. I connected with these women. I knew these stories. I felt them in my blood, in my bones. Once again, I wanted to write. I went back to ODU, this time to study Creative Writing. My memoir was my thesis for my MFA.

Q. What/who inspires your books?

A: I write nonfiction, so they are inspired by life. I write about life in Iran. I am Jewish, so I write a lot about my own life as a Jewish woman. I also write research oriented articles on Iranian women writers in general, and Jewish women in particular.

Q. Is there a particular issue that you tend to focus on in your writings?

A: I just sent an article to be published in JQ, a British journal about Literature by Iranian Jewish Women. I am absolutely obsessed with Iranian women writers. Why didn’t we write more? earlier? I wrote an article last year about Iranian women and memoirs. It is astonishing how many books of memoirs have been published by Iranian women in exile. I love to watch Iranian women shine. It is something to be very proud of. I think this past decade should be dedicated to Iranian women such as Shirin Ebadi, Mehri Kar, Azar Nafisi, Shohreh Aghashloo, Simin Behbahani, Shirin Neshat, Nahid Rachlin and the list goes on and on. We rock!

Q. Tell us about your latest book.

A: I am working on a novel this time. It was inspired by a trip I made to Israel and met both Israelis and Palestinians. I also met a lot of Iranian refugees. In the story, I try to give humanity to everyone in this conflict. I also hope to convey the Iranian idea of ghorbat, how so many of us suffer for not being able to touch the soil of our homelands. What does it mean to be refugees be it Jewish, Palestinian, or Iranian?

Q. How did you get your start/ break as a writer?

A: When I was studying for my humanities degree, I was told that I needed to choose two categories as fields of study. I chose comparative Lit. Then I heard about Women’s studies. Quite frankly, I was so naive. I was surprised that women needed to be studied. I took the classes just out of curiosity and I was soon hooked. I loved it. My teachers encouraged me to write and to publish constantly. I wrote my first stories then and read them during “Work in Progress,” a conference WS had initiated. The word got around and soon I was sending my stories out to be published and reading them in various places. I also started my research on Iranian women for one of my women’s studies classes. After so many years, I am still enjoying it.

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