I'm not Persian . . . I'm a Kurd.
My grandfather
was the crown prince
of Kurdistan,
which is on the
between Persia,
Turkey and Syria.
But since the Turkish conquest, the independent princes in our family have become spread over a wide area.
I was born in Turkey,
in Constantinople.
When I was very young,
I left for Egypt
with my mother and
spent my childhood there.
When, after the tragic death of my father, the Emir,
I fled from my revolt-stricken country,
dancing became my very reason for living, my life's aim.
I only came to Europe after the war, to study in Switzerland.
I've always loved dancing.
I don't learn my dances.
I dance instinctively using
very stylized popular themes.
I settled in Paris where,
after two recitals,
I decided to spend a year
researching the religious rites
of ancient Persia, Egyptian
Mazdeism [Zoroastrism], Indian,
and Oriental sacred dances.
Leila Bedirkhan
Kurdish dancer, living in Paris in the 1930s
Paris Midi, December 16, 1932
Comedia, December 9, 1930
From the book, Kurdistan, In the Shadow of History.