Iran’s doctors are dancing to keep spirits high amid coronavirus scare

The videos also defy the country's rules against dancing.

Mar 9, 2020, 10:11 am*

Internet Culture

Samira Sadeque 

Samira Sadeque

Screengrabs show Iran's doctors dancing

Negar Mortazavi/Twitter

As countries scramble to find contain global outbreaks of coronavirus, some doctors in Iran are dancing on camera to keep spirits high.

Videos shared on social media show doctors in full radioactive gear, masks, and caps showing off their moves in hospital hallways and labs. 

Outside of China, Iran has the highest death rate from coronavirus: The country has reported 34 deaths and more than 300 cases of the disease.

One video shows a medical worker dancing at the far end of an unoccupied hospital ward with beds that are empty. Behind the camera, voices are heard laughing and cheering on the dancer.

Similar videos have been shared in a Twitter thread by Iranian American journalist Negar Mortazavi. She told the Daily Dot that she has been collecting the videos from Iranian social media.

One clip shows a medical official dancing inside what appears to be lab. The worker sways and goes in circles, dancing to a song in the background as her colleagues laugh and applaud.

“It’s a great way to fight corona with high spirits,” Mortazavi told the Daily Dot. “And to defy the country’s strict rules against dance.”

Dancing in public, especially for women, can be deemed an “indecent act” in Iran, which is against the law. 

Another video shows four health workers dancing to Kurdish music, according to Mortazavi. Two health workers wear white gear, and two are in blue gear. They wrap their arms around each other and dance to music blasting in the background.

These videos, which seem to have started as spontaneous activities, are getting even more creative. Mortazavi shared a video that even has light effects.

Another video shows a coordinated dance featuring more than a dozen health officials in masks and caps. They move together from the far end of a lab, tangling arms and forming a circle.

Toward the end of the video, the group cheers on one health official waltzing toward the camera with a sign that says in Persian, “We will beat corona.”

So far, the dance moves seem welcome for most.

“We see even some government officials have embraced them in the face of the bigger threat which is the virus,” Mortazavi said. 

Correction: The sign featured in one video of health workers is written in Persian.

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*First Published: Mar 6, 2020, 2:12 pm