Four boys and two girls have been arrested in Iran for teaching “Western” dance moves including Zumba, a Colombian fitness routine, a local Revolutionary Guards commander said.
“The members of a network teaching and filming Western dances have been identified and arrested,” said Hamid Damghani, commander of the Guards in the town of Sharhoud in Iran’s northeastern Semnan province, according to Jamejam Online website late on Tuesday.
“The team attracted boys and girls, taught them Western dances and published their video clips on social media apps like Telegram and Instagram,” he added.
“They were arrested by the Guards’ intelligence forces while teaching and creating video clips… as they sought to change lifestyles and promote a lack of hijab,” he said.
They were charged with dancing and failing to wear proper hijab — Islamic regulations that require women to wear headscarves and ban revealing clothing in public.
Dancing is banned in Iran for women in front of men outside their immediate families, but in recent years Zumba and other dances have been banned even in women-only gyms, even if the rules are widely flouted.
“The promotion and teaching of dancing in the name of sport in women’s gyms is a serious issue,” Damghani said.
In 2014, seven young Iranians were arrested for dancing to Pharrell Williams’s hit “Happy” in a home-made video that went viral on the internet.
They were given suspended jail and lashing sentences.