Setting: civil war, Zand-Qajar Persia mid-late 18thc
* Racinet 1988 p112
"The names 'dancer' and 'courtesan' are almost synonymous in Persia, and serve only vaguely to distinguish one from another. Only women dance; a Turkish or Persian man would never be seen doing this.
"Dancers are of low status. They are required to perform at weddings, feasts and ceremonies. Only a short while ago they used to appear at ambassadors' receptions.
"As in all Asiatic nations, the tune for the dance is sung not by the dancer herself, but by another woman or little boy. The rhythm of the dance is rarely quick; the action consists of the striking of attitudes and of passionate movements executed with a languorous air.
"Certain of the dance movements show the particular genius of the Persians. That is, that although they do not have theatres, they take keen pleasure in performing dramatic representations of a piece from one of their favourite poets.
"The Dance of the Bee is one such composition .... The scene is drawn with a staccato rhythm. The dancer pretends to have been bitten by a bee which she follows while taking off her clothes.
"Her naked body is often covered with tattoos of flowers, palm trees, animals and even large reptiles that crawl around her legs."