Mehdi Farajpour – EMPTY BODY

Dance Days Chania Workshop

Roots of Empty Body:
Empty body was firstly born in a theatrical context and it slipped in to dance field during the process of my research on movement. So the method has grew up in a choreographically environment while keeping it’s theatrical characteristics. Now, EMPTY BODY is a point where Dance, Theatre, Performance art & Poetry come together.
In parallel to this mixed character, the method is also profoundly getting its power from Persian poetry and Sufism but with a contemporary approach. So, it took one step further and this time, towards philosophy. Therefore, the basic challenge for practitioners is to reach and perceive the state of Emptiness before dancing. In this case, the method looks like an endless personal research instead of learning a concrete dance technique. Exactly the same sort of continuity as for Hindus towards SAMADHI (समाधि) or concerning Dervishes, towards FANAA and the same about Buddhists: Nirvana

1) The main idea: In theater, actors are supposed to host a new character in their body called the “Role of play”. In this case, the importance of the second character is much bolder than the actor’s own character. But basically, dancers do not need to host a secondary character while performing. Furthermore, they even do not need to carry on their own character in their body/movement.
2) Meditation in motion: This concept is mainly focused on the power of imagination as well as the meditation. In this case, body is considered as an object or a tool to be manipulated by a subject called Mind. The body is something to be carried, something to
be danced with.
3) I & ego: Empty Body considers the mind as a foundation and the body as a construction. It passes through Meditation: a journey from I (ego) towards another I (without ego).
4) Persian sufism: As mentioned earlier, EMPTY BODY is inspired by Persian Sufism in the concept (believing the Transmogrification) but not in the form (physical movements). A Sufi believes in the harmony both mentally and spiritually. And his aim is to be a part of that harmony. It means that first his mind starts dancing and his body follows. In Sufism, one tries to imagine and to perceive the life as a tree, or as a stone, or water, and yet, not by imitating it but through living it. And after having passed through these perceptions, he comes back to the human form but a human without EGO. The
Emptiness starts from this point on and the physical movement (dance) follows it (trance).

Empty body is the most proper form of body for dancers as well as for performers. An empty body is the purest form of being which does not carry any character nor any characteristics. An Empty body can easily represent any elements in our universe. It can remain stood up as a tree for years, or stay motionless as a stone for ages, it can breath as the air and wave as the wind. To avoid any fake and naive interpretation from the method, Empty body starts with poetry, then with Meditation in movement. Conclusion: Through the course participants would learn basic lessons of creating  choreographies inspired by poetry, imagination and fantasy. On the way of looking for a new movement language, the method gives a try to different dance forms, bodily expressions, cyclic yoga, body/mind research styles and of course the Poetry.

– What is an external power and how does it move our bodies?
– What is the inner power?
– Meditation in motion
– Rhythm & tempo of silence (Dancing in different types of silence).
– Dancing a poem.
– Balanced and unbalanced positions.
– Gravity.
– Alienation / Body as an object.
– Living in the absolute surrealism.
– My body or Me? Who/What is my body?
– Moving slowly or slow-motion movement?
– Dropping body or falling down?
– Writing choreography by using focus points.
– Drawing the space.
– Writing with body.

Mehdi FARAJPOUR is an Iranian choreographer and artistic director for ORIANTHEATRE Dance Company based in Paris. He began as a theatre artist but now is considered as conceptual performance artist.

Mehdi’s artistic career covers various fields such as dance, video, photography, poetry, theatre and performance art. He divides his time between creating shows and teaching his movement method called EMPTY BODY.

The Monk Performers is the title of Mehdi’s book published in 2008 in Tehran. The book consist of his theories about Presence & Concentration.

Currently, he is program manager of PARIS SUMMER ACADEMY. The program aims at training a new generation of multi-disciplined dancers and performers under supervision of world-widely known artists.

Examples of the venues & festivals where Mehdi work (shows/workshops) has been seen are: IMPULSTANZ festival (Vienna), Institut du Monde Arabes (Paris), Istrian national theatre (Croatia), CRICOTEKA (Tadeusz Kantor’s museum in Krakow), Wroclaw National museum, Sopot national gallery, TANZFAKTUR (Cologne), SOLO festival (Moscow)…

He is mainly active in Europe (Germany, England, Finland, Sweden, Spain, Poland, Croatia, Norway, Belorussia,…) and in Asia (India, Turkey, South Korea & Iran).

Awards/Achievements: 2008 (The best choreography and creative music for Suddhalaiyadi from 26th international theatre festival, Tehran). 2008 (grant from “Hooyong performing Arts Center” of South Korea). 2009 (grant called Orient and Europe from Poland). 2010 (he was part of jury for Minsk international university theatre festival). 2011 (awarded The Best Director Prize for his performance BECKETT (I END) at the international theatre festival of Lomza, Poland). 2013 (The Best Performance Prize for “ETC, ETC.” from festival PUF, Croatia). 2015 & 2016, The same festival awarded him for two other shows called YET UNTITLED and for SUMMER COLLECTION BY M.F. Mehdi was the guest artist at H.P.A.C. of South Korea during September 2017.

20 – 22 July

10:00 – 13:00

For all workshops and masterclasses
please contact us at

Next A. Mikou, K. Bousmpoura, B. Panagiotara – Body & Urban Landscape