At this year’s big spring dance recital that just took place this past Friday, I danced a Persian fusion number to the main theme from “Game of Thrones”. I had initially hoped to do a Dothraki- inspired piece, but couldn’t find the drum music used in the series.
An exhibit of costumes from Game of Thrones. Cersei’s gown in front, Melisandre’s dress in background.
Listening to the main theme, I decided that the haunting violins with the underlying drumbeat really had more of a Persian/Northern India sound so I planned my performance piece around that. While the court gowns we see in the series have a kimono/Medieval look to them, other courtiers such as Master Varys have garb that is more Central Asian-inspired. The capitol of King’s Landing itself is very old, has a hot, dry climate, and has a very Mughal Court vibe to me so I wanted a costume that read as Persian, but could conceivably be worn by a court dancer at King’s Landing.
Here’s a Persian painting showing a dancer and a musician. The dancer is wearing a long, belted gown.
Persian dancer with a short coat, Qajar dynasty.
As you can see from the pictures above, I had a couple of options in terms of Persian dance wear. I opted to go with my long Turkish coat worn over a full skirt with black leggings underneath. It was a compromise between historical and modern Persian dancer costumes. I considered adding a sash, but found that it limited the skirt and the robe from billowing out as I spun.
Sansa (Sophie Turner ) modeling the court hairstyle at King’s Landing (Game of Thrones, Season 1).
I considered doing up my hair a la Sansa, but finally opted to keep it simple, pulling it up at the sides, letting it fall down the back, and then adding flowers around the crown, tribal bellydance style. That turned out to be a good call as the theater where the recital took place was very hot and stuffy.
If you know something about Persian dance, you know that dancers oft mime feminine activities such as putting on their jewelry and makeup. With Queen Cersei as my muse, I mimed poisoning a goblet, slicing throats, and fighting with a sword and shield. At the end, the lights went to red, suggesting a pool of blood.
The whole number was well received. Next year, I’m hoping to dress up one of my fellow dancers and myself as priestesses of R’hllor (aka Melisandre) and do a candle duet.