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The Pleasant Pain

August 26 @ 8:00 pm - 10:00 pm

$20 - $30

Diaspora Arts Connection proudly presents The Pleasant Pain, a dance presentation choreographed by Aisan Hoss. Support for this presentation was generously provided by Neda Nobari Foundation and Ban Together.

Saturday, August 26, 2017, 8:00 pm
ODC Theater, B. Way Theater, 3153 17th Street, San Francisco, CA 94110
Tickets: $20 Students (must have valid ID), $30 General Admission

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Dancers: Joslynn Celestine Mathis-Reed, Kim Ip, Adrienne Swan Annie Spirka
Music: Asaf Ophir, Sheldon Smith
Dramaturg: Heather Rastovac

About the performance:

The Pleasant Pain, choreographed by Aisan Hoss, draws from oral history interviews that Hoss has conducted with nearly thirty young Iranian émigrés who have recently migrated to the San Francisco Bay Area. Like Hoss, the interviewees are part of Iran’s “new generation” – those born in Iran after the 1979 Islamic Revolution. The choreographic process and community building efforts of The Pleasant Pain explore individual and collective memories of home and how these memories and one’s sense of identity transform after migration. As Hoss explains: “I lost my sense of home after immigrating. Since I feel that I no longer belong to any place outside or inside Iran, my sense of home now only resides in memories of sounds, smells, and images that no longer exist. I choreographed The Pleasant Pain from the personal and collective processes of recuperating and transforming these memories into new definitions of home for us young Iranian immigrants in the Bay Area.” Instead of presenting a multicultural spectacle of ahistorical exoticism or a typical narrative of suffering and freedom, The Pleasant Pain highlights the complexities, concerns, and embodied memories of Iran’s “new generation” through exploring concepts of bittersweetness, numbness, skin shedding, and pain as pleasure. Hoss explains: “Things that people might think of as ‘pain’ or ‘restriction’ in Iran actually conjure sensations of safety, joy, and home for me and many of the other ‘new generation’ who have recently immigrated.” Through exploring these seeming contradictions, this choreographic work attempts to disrupt the binaries that often surround Middle Eastern people in the U.S., such as unfree/free, past/present, there/here, collective/individual, and religious/secular. Hoss’s primary choreographic objective is to create joy within darkness; however, while dance, for many in the Iranian diaspora, has historically been, and still is, a tool for producing joy, Hoss aims to transform the fantasy of the “beautiful Persian princess” into the reality of an imperfect human being.


August 26
8:00 pm - 10:00 pm
$20 - $30


Diaspora Arts Connection


351 Shotwell Street & 3153 17th Street
San Francisco, CA 94110 United States
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(415) 863-6606