Aisles, a documentary film directed by choreographer Alexandra Amirov, straddles the intersection of site-specific live dance performance and anthropology. The film will chronicle Amirov as she visits diverse communities across the US to research and explore female perspectives on cultural and religious marriage traditions. Amirov will explore how those marriage traditions shape and fortify gender roles, the value of purity, and if a generational shift in acceptance and expectation of marriage has altered the institution. For recent immigrants, the exploration will expand to include the effects of assimilation into US society and how that impacts the preservation of their native marriage traditions. Through dialogue, storytelling and movement based investigation, Amirov and women from each community will create and perform public “bridal processions” expressing the voice of the participants, and demonstrate what carefully designed spatial patterns and arrangements within a marriage ceremony tells us about the roles and hierarchy of the participants.
“As a female choreographer and immigrant artist of Persian-Jewish descent, I know and have experienced firsthand the challenges that come with conservative cultural and religious traditions. I know the tensions that arise while navigating a closed-minded, gender discriminating community, surrounded by a more progressive social environment. The topics around marriage are usually unspoken and are justified by the ‘resilience and honor of tradition’ which often leaves no opportunity for conversation and questioning, especially for females.” – Alexandra Amirov