Zumba Illegal In Iran And Authorities Arrested Six Individuals For Teaching It


zumba illegal in iran

Iranian authorities arrested four men and two women for teaching “Western dance moves” such as Zumba, and creating video clips that were posted on social media (Instagram, Telegram, etc.).


According to Iranian media, six individuals were detained by Iran’s Revolutionary Guard officers in the town of Sharhoud in the Northeastern Semnan province late Tuesday.

Their guilt? Try to promote a different lifestyle, a new dress code, a new way of seeing life – maybe with more freedom? – a life with no Hijab which is a compulsory Muslim women head covering in Iran since the 1979 Islamic revolution.

Zumba is a dance fitness programme and was created in Colombia by the dancer and choreographer Alberto “Beto” Perez during the 1990s. It involves dance and aerobic movements performed to energetic music. The choreography incorporates hip-hop, soca, samba, salsa, merengue and mambo. Squats and lunges are also included.

zumba dance
Bro. Jeffrey Pioquinto | Flickr

Zumba is so popular nowadays that around 5 million people take weekly Zumba classes in over 200,000 locations across 180 countries. A funny and effective way to keep fit and burn calories.

Despite that, it seems to be considered too much Western and free – or maybe too sinful. I don’t really know if it’s just a matter of sin in Iran. Is it, perhaps, about changing the status and current order? But even if it’s just a matter of sin, can repression really eliminate it at all? (This question could be addressed to any society and belief -Ed.). You could not do something, but this might not stop people from having certain thoughts and feelings, which means “sins” will remain (or do you think we can’t sin just with our mind and heart? -Ed.).

So is it just a matter of religion? I can’t judge. Can Zumba lead people to become evil and immoral in the long run? I still don’t know (if you have a strong faith maybe not -Ed.).

iranian women dance zumba

What’s certain is that it’s not the first time people were arrested because contrary to Islamic precepts. Let’s remind that Zumba classes were outlawed by Iran’s “Sports for All Federation”, and 3 years ago, in 2014, six men and women were arrested after uploading a video where they were dancing to American singer-songwriter Pharell William’s “happy” hit. They were sentenced to 91 lashes each, given suspended jail terms and were later forced to apologise.

What do you think? Are sin and immorality just a matter of actions or they also involve intention? Is it really effective to forbid thinks if people still have the will? The sin still remains on my opinion.

So what’s more effective? To force or to convince? Might this incident be not just a religious issue?

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