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Crossing Boundaries Concert Series 14: Rumi’s Wedding Night Online Film
December 17, 2020 @ 7:00 pm - December 30, 2020 @ 11:30 pm EST$5 – $20
CRS (Center for Remembering & Sharing) presents CROSSING BOUNDARIES Concert Series Vol 14: RUMI’S WEDDING NIGHT, a video program of Sufi music, dance, and poetry celebrating the life of the beloved poet and Sufi mystic Mevlana Jalaluddin Rumi, who died on December 17, 1273 in Konya, Turkey.
Curated and directed by LÄLE SAYOKO, this online film features music by ** TOMCHESS** (ney, oud, and morsing), vocals by MINA OMIDI, video by CHRISTOPHER PELHAM, and dance by members of the CRS Sufi Dance community: LÄLE SAYOKO, PAOLA GARCÎA, and MEERA KHANAL. Additional voice-over is provided by MILAI SAKAI.
Rumi directed his followers to celebrate rather than mourn his passing because he would be uniting with God, the “Beloved.” The observance of the anniversary of his death was thereafter referred to in Arabic as urs, which means “wedding.”
The whirling dance meditation of the Sufis is known as Sema or Sama and actually means “divine listening.” It is the mystical approach of practicing “listening” in order to achieve remembrance (zikr) of the divine spark in our heart of hearts. We empty our minds of all thoughts of the individual self as we give ourselves over to prayer and connect with a greater power, the still center within, around which we turn. Into this emptiness floods a divine fullness, which sometimes gives rise to a state known as “mystical intoxication,” a reflection of knowing and experiencing that you and I and the Divine are One.
Our practice is fundamentally experiential rather than presentational in nature. Even though we are sharing it with you through this electronic medium, it is our hope that you can receive our prayer and join with us in setting aside the dualistic world of the ego to experience this Oneness.
ABOUT THE CURATOR/DIRECTOR
LÄLE SAYOKO lives to embody and transmit the voice of spirit through music and dance. As CRS Resident Sufi Dance instructor, choreographer, performing artist, and musical curator, she loves to welcome people into this holy practice to explore and share their own divinity. She intermittently tours internationally with BELLA GAIA, a live concert blending music, dance, technology, and NASA satellite imagery inspired by the experience of astronauts viewing the earth from space. “Sublime” — Village Voice.
One of the founding members of Japan’s famous SAMANYOLU professional belly dance group in Tokyo, Läle went on to a long solo career performing throughout the northeastern USA and touring with United Kingdom’s Mugenkyo Taiko Drummers on over a 100 city tour encompassing the U.K., as well as Turkey’s Baba Zula. About six years ago, she was forced to retire to support her young daughter through a life-threatening medical crisis. Several years later she discovered that she could whirl as a form of prayer to support her daughter and began studying Sufi Dance with Paris-based Sufi Artist Rana Gorgani. In April 2018 Gorgani awarded her the International Sufi Dance Certification Of Cid UNESCO, granting her authority to teach Gorgani’s method of Sufi Dance training. Prior to the pandemic she taught ongoing Sufi Dance classes and led monthly Healing Circles at CRS. For information on private or small group lessons, please contact us for details.
ABOUT THE MUSICIANS
TOMCHESS (oud, ney, morsing) is a New York City–based multi-instrumentalist, improviser, and composer. He has been performing regularly with the CRS Sufi dance community since its inception. He is a founding member of the American Sufi Project, a group of artists and seekers who meet at the weekly gatherings for Zikr (remembrance of God) at the Dergah-Al-Farah in NYC. He has played and recorded with some of the most esteemed players in the improvisational scene (Dewey Redman, Butch Morris, Pharoah Sanders, Drew Gress, Ronald Shannon Jackson) as well as Moroccan sintarist Hassan Hakmoun. He has performed around the world and at NYC venues like Lincoln Center, the Turkish and Pakistani embassies, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the United Nations. He has played on Grammy-nominated recordings and was awarded grants from the Turkish American Society and the Maryland Council for the Arts. In 2012 he was nominated for an Independent Music Award.
MINA OMIDI (vocals) is an Iranian immigrant, multidisciplinary artist, musician and singer. She is an active member of the CRS Sufi dance and music community, and the songs she performs at CRS embody her passion for sharing the universal message of love, unity and freedom. After receiving her BFA in Graphic Design from Tehran Art University in 2013, she began studying music and unfold her abilities as a singer in Iran. Mahsa Vahdat is the artist who played the most significant role in her path and helped her open up her heart and voice at deeper levels. Mina has always been obsessed with spirituality. Singing poems of classical Persian poets like Rumi and Hafez is a healing remedy to her. “It is my meditation and healing remedy to get through pain of loss and wounds that Ego shapes!” she says.
ABOUT THE OTHER PERFORMERS
** PAOLA GARCÍA** periodically teaches Sufi dance at CRS and performs with the CRS Sufi dance community. She has studied extensively with Sufi dance artist Rana Gorgani in NYC and in Europe and was awarded the International Sufi Dance Certification Of Cid UNESCO by her, granting Paola authority to teach Gorgani’s method of Sufi dance training. She has performed in multiple venues including Mana Contemporary, Alwan Center for the Arts, The Cathedral of Saint John the Divine, From the Horse’s Mouth, The Outlet Dance Project, Dixon Place, MODArts Dance Collective, Queens Library, and Jamaica Center for the Arts among others. Paola holds a Master’s Degree in Islamic Studies from Columbia University and a J.D. from Columbia Law School. She is a writer, Middle Eastern Studies researcher, lawyer, translator and student of Sufism.
MEERA SADIKCHHYA KHANAL is a Sufi dance student of Läle Sayoko and a graduate student at Columbia University, Teachers College where she studies Psychology with a concentration on Spirituality. While traveling in India five years ago, she came across Sufi Whirling at the Osho International Centre, and she knew that she had found her path. It was a revelation that dance could be a doorway to the beloved. Meera facilitates workshops and classes in Sufi Whirling, Yoga, and Active Meditations.
MILAI SAKAI is a movement student of Läle Sayoko. She is a nine-year-old Japanese girl growing up in NYC, and this is her first performance with the CRS Sufi dance community.
ABOUT THE PRODUCER/VIDEOGRAPHER/EDITOR
CHRISTOPHER PELHAM is Director and co-founder of CRS (Center for Remembering & Sharing) where he studies and teaches A Course in Miracles, offers spiritual healing and counseling, leads guided meditations, and organizes and participates in all the Sufi events and Healing Circles with Sufi Dance Artist Lale Sayoko. He also studies when possible with Sufi Dance Artist Rana Gorgani. He is as well a producer and curator and avid amateur writer, photographer, videographer, and performer.
ABOUT CROSSING BOUNDARIES CONCERT SERIES
Now in its third year, CROSSING BOUNDARIES is a performance series devoted to creating unforgettable live art experiences that dissolve boundaries between performers and audiences, traditional and new music, and the local and the global, bringing people together and promoting the awareness that we each possess a limitless creativity inside us. CROSSING BOUNDARIES is produced by CRS (Center for Remembering & Sharing), a healing and arts center founded in 2004 by artists Yasuko Kasaki and Christopher Pelham and located in NYC.
The 2020 season of CROSSING BOUNDARIES is made possible in part with public funds from Creative Engagement, supported by the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council and the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and administered by LMCC. LMCC empowers artists by providing them with networks, resources, and support, to create vibrant, sustainable communities in Manhattan and beyond.