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The Rules of Love: A Sufi Dance Workshop
May 19, 2019 @ 12:00 pm - 3:30 pm EDT$70 – $80
CRS (Center for Remembering & Sharing) invites you to join our whirling community for an intensive workshop in Sufi Dance (sema or samâسمع in Arabic and Farsi) led by Sufi dance artists & CRS instructors Paola García and Lâle Sayoko. Samâ means spiritual listening and its accompanying whirling dance embodies unity: unity within our own selves first, and with the outer world and “others” second. Both beginners and more experienced whirlers and people of all faiths and ages are welcome. Together, let’s experience the peace and blissfulness that come with accepting all feelings that arise during our practice, including the uncomfortable.
In this workshop, you will learn whirling technique and experience several meditation-in-motion exercises meant to facilitate connection with the deepest parts of our selves. You will also learn essential facts and some history about Sufism. This will promote an understanding of how we can benefit from the wisdom of this ancient tradition in a way that is deeply relevant and applicable to our experience as modern beings. Poetry and sacred music will be important components of this workshop. Those with prior experience will learn more advanced techniques and be led deeper into their practice. Finally, there will be time to whirl with live musical accompaniment, always a magical experience!
“Dancing is not just getting up painlessly, like a leaf blown on the wind; dancing is when you tear your heart out and rise out of your body to hang suspended between the worlds.”
– Jalal ad-Din Rumi.
Sufi whirling is called the dance of the soul because of its ability to liberate the dancer’s soul from the prison of the body. A background in dance is not necessary to benefit from the alchemy and spiritual richness of this practice, derived from Islamic mysticism. Cathartic and powerful, this practice is life-altering, exerting an irresistible pull on those who are called to it, and therefore meant to remove their veils and witness the intoxicating light of the divinity that lies at the core of our human essence.
This workshop will be organized around Shams of Tabriz’s Rules of Love. We will discuss these at length and incorporate several of them in various exercises throughout our dance. Shams of Tabriz is a central figure of Sufism. He was a wandering Persian mystic who lived at the end of the 12thcentury and the man who transformed Rumi from an orthodox religious scholar and preacher to a poet, mystic, and lover.
How we see God is a direct reflection of how we see ourselves; we don’t see things as they are, we see them as we are. If God brings to mind mostly fear and blame, it means there is too much fear and blame welled inside us. If we see God as full of love and compassion, so are we.
The workshop fee is $70 until May 18 and $80 at the door. Registration is available online, by phone (212-677-8621), and at CRS.
Please wear comfortable and solid colored clothing (all white, all black…) only and no jewelry. Bring socks or flat dance slippers to dance in. If you have a whirling skirt, you may bring it. Bring a notebook and pen and water bottle.
Do not eat for at least a couple of hours before the workshop.
Learn more about Sufi dance:
About the Instructors
Paola García is a Sufi dance artist certified by Persian master Rana Gorgani as a UNESCO international dance teacher. She holds a Master’s Degree in Islamic Studies from Columbia University. She is a writer, Middle Eastern Studies researcher, translator and student of Sufism.
Lâle Sayoko was one of the founding members of Japan’s famous Samanyolu professional bellydance group, and has since developed her own solo career touring with UK’s Mugenkyo Taiko Drummers on a 44 city tour of the UK, to Turkey’s Baba Zula, and with New York’s Bella Gaia multimedia Earth from Space journey show. Lâle aspires for dance to be a powerful communicator though traditional technique and spiritual embodiment. She has lately been studying Sufi dance with Rana Gorgani, and 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. She teaches Sufi Dance on the 1st Thursday night of every month at CRS and leads the CRS Healing Circles + Whirling Prayer that take place every third Thursday night of the month.