Footloose, Dirty Dancing, and a touch of Billy Elliot have been taken to the streets of Iran in a movie that serves as a sort of protest of the illegality of public dancing throughout the country. Desert Dancer follows the true story of a group of Iranian twentysomethings who indulge their love of dance, despite the consequences of being caught. Via YouTube and other video streaming sites, the group excitedly work toward forming a dance school and defying the limits put upon them.
This film makes an eager point, that in a world of such strong freedoms concerning media— social, privately owned, or otherwise— there are still many arenas that are off-limits to much of the world. Parts of Asia, the Middle East, and other regions with heavy censorship and restrictions have a relatable hand in this film, where the youth culture of today, used to instant accessibility to information, must take a secret approach to creative expression.
Something akin to Step Up without all of the surplus of shirtless dudes and night club dance battles, the movie focuses heavily on choreography and the progression and journey of the dancers. While an openly expressive art form that is appreciated with ease in most other countries, dance has taken on a real, treasured meaning in Desert Dancer.