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Iran detains 2 theater artists over clip of mixed-gender dancing

Iranians shop at Tehran's old Bazaar
Iranian authorities have detained two artists over a theater production of Shakespeare’s ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ for including scenes that consider illegal under the Islamic Republic’s strict rules that forbid gender mixing and women dancing in public.

Cultural official Shahram Karami stated Monday that Iran’s judiciary had ordered the detention of the play’s director, Maryam Kazemi, and the manager of the theater that hosted it, Saeed Assadi, the official IRNA news agency reported.

Karami said that both were taken into custody on Sunday evening after the broadcast of a video trailer about the show. He said it had caused a “misunderstanding” but did not elaborate. The court had accepted to release the two on $24,000 bail each, he added.

The clip which went viral on social media showed female actors dancing with men as part of the trailer. The play was on stage for seven nights before the detonation.

The police forces and hardliners who dominate Iran’s judiciary reject Western culture in Iran.

This is not the first case in Iran; the authorities detained Maedeh Hojabri, a teenage girl who posted dance videos online in July. In 2014 authorities sentenced six young men and women to suspended prison terms after they appeared in a video dancing to Pharrell Williams’ song “Happy.”