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Desert Dancer (2014)

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Afshin Ghaffarian risks everything to start a dance company amidst his home country of Iran's politically volatile climate and the nation's ban on dancing.


Richard Raymond


Jon Croker (screenplay), Afshin Ghaffarian (based on the life story of)
2 nominations. See more awards »





Credited cast:
Nazanin Boniadi ... Parisa Ghaffarian
Freida Pinto ... Elaheh
Tom Cullen ... Ardavan
Marama Corlett ... Mona
Reece Ritchie ... Afshin Ghaffarian
Simon Kassianides ... Sattar
Neet Mohan ... Javadi, Naser
Akin Gazi ... Farid Ghaffarian
Tolga Safer ... Stephano
Alex Klaus ... Minder 1 (as Alex Claus)
Richard David-Caine Richard David-Caine ... Teymour / Trinculo
Makram Khoury ... Mehdi
Mourad Zaoui ... The student
Hamza Kadri ... Smocking Guy
Davood Ghadami Davood Ghadami ... Basij Leader


A film based on an incredible true story. Desert Dancer is a classic hero story about brave young people risking their lives to rebel against their government and fight for their dreams. Set in Iran, where it is currently forbidden to dance, the story follows Afshin Ghaffarian and his friends who despite the dangers form an underground dance company where, via hacking into YouTube, they learn from the very best - Michael Jackson, Pina Bausch, Gene Kelly and Rudolf Nureyev. Reveling in the freedom of expression that dance gives them, they set upon putting on a performance deep in the desert, away from the watchful eyes of the military police. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

dance | desert | iran | dancer | dancing | See All (28) »


Freedom Takes Courage. See more »


Biography | Drama | Music

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for thematic elements, some drug material and violence | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »


Official Sites:

Official site



Release Date:

22 April 2016 (UK) See more »

Also Known As:

Until I Rise See more »

Filming Locations:

London, England, UK See more »


Box Office


$4,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$40,763, 12 April 2015, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$143,653, 10 May 2015
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs



Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


There is a misspelled word in the big banner the protesters carry in front of them See more »


References Dirty Dancing (1987) See more »


Louie Louie
(Richard Berry (as Berry))
Performed by Jack Ely
See more »

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User Reviews

One of the most blatant "propaganda" films ever produced!
9 December 2015 | by carter-drewjSee all my reviews

This piece of political trash is so hilariously made to trash Iran and it's people and government - as to be laughable.

Considering the history of Persia (Iran) this movie would have made "yellow journalist" William Randolph Hearst giddy! In 1951 Mohammed Mossadeg was Time's Man of the year .. and garnered a front page spread: http://content.time.com/time/covers/0,16641,19520107,00.html As Kermit Roosevelt brags on the Cia.gov web page, Kermit was in charge of bombing schools, churches and blaming it on Mossadeq! The reason for this terrorism: Mossadeq wanted to use some of Iran's oil revenues to improve his country! British Petroleum would have none of that .. and the "terror" started. Moosadeq was overthrown, and the Shah of Iran placed in charge of the county - and the secret police "The Savak" ruled Iran with extreme terror for decades. That is the historical perspective which this movie glosses over, making it such a piece of propaganda trash! On the one hand the CIA installed Shah .. killed and tortured hundreds of thousands of Iranians - on the other hand the vicious government they have now disallows dancing! What a tragedy that Movies like this get funded!

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