About Me, Katayoun Farah

Originally from Iran, I began performing as a teen pageant girl in Virginia Beach, VA. After an illustrious career as a performer, teacher, author, and studio owner in the Washington, D.C. area, a leap of faith drew me to California where my soul and my art were reborn. I am always learning and growing where my creative instincts take me. I bring this evolving spirit with methodology and focus to my teachings.

My repertoire includes seven styles of Iranian/Persian dance and six styles of Arab/Egyptian dance.

My ideas about these various cultural forms and performance styles are informed by the following, over the span of my own life experience, as well as 20+ years in the industry:

  • Participation and observation in social and community dance in-culture
  • Learning from heritage Arab and Iranian music and dance masters
  • Watching and studying a large number and diverse array of heritage dancers and others
  • Research and experience of the cultures’ languages, customs, traditions, and aesthetics
  • Study and performance of variety of folk and popular songs spanning S.W.A.N.A region (South-West Asia/North Africa), ie. rhythms, voice and dance
  • Independent exploration and creative work as an artist, performer and instructor

My teaching format and methodology is informed and shaped by:

  • Teacher training at UVA’s School of Continuing & Professional Studies
  • A decade in the classroom as a language teacher
  • Two decades teaching dance and fitness to all ages and abilities

In 2019 while living in San Diego, CA I was recruited as a backup singer in Dornob Collective (Persian traditional songs) by its founder, Mr. Farhad Bahrami, a kindred artistic spirit.

Mr. Farhad’s vision and creative impulses resonated with me as I was eager to expand my understanding of Middle Eastern music(s) and its fusion tendencies.

I joined the vocal section of Mr. Farhad's Middle East Ensemble at Grossmont College where I learned to sing in Arabic, Armenian, Turkish, and Farsi for the inaugural concert. Shortly before the pandemic lock-down, I made my professional singing debut with Los Bandaritos (Afro-Arab music from the Persian Gulf), led by Mr. Mahmood Shamshiry, for San Diego Museum of Art’s Nowruz celebration.

I have contributed content to the Belly Dance Business Academy, Al Farah Magazine for Oriental Dance in Norway, and The Belly Dance Bundles of 2020 and 2021. I have authored and published books, which you may find useful.