Iran Bans Zumba, and Its Fans Fume

An edict issued this month by the head of the Sports for All Federation, a government institution promoting sports and a healthy lifestyle, effectively banned Zumba classes for being contrary to Islamic precepts.

Ever since, Ms. Nafisi’s phone has been buzzing with messages from depressed Zumba aficionados who feared their fitness parties, as some describe the classes, were canceled.

“It is as if they have legalized alcohol — everyone is talking about it,” Ms. Nafisi said, referring to the liquor ban in the country. Even her mother-in-law called from California to ask if this was the end of Zumba in Iran.

“Of course not,” Ms. Nafisi fumed. “Zumba will not be stopped.”

Coming together for fitness dancing is just one of many examples of the tensions between Iran’s changing middle-class society and those ruling the country.

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