Classes


“Teaching dance teaches life lessons.” ~Anonymous

Classes

Drop-ins and both men and women are welcome. Teens are welcome to attend all adult classes. In advance of your first class send us an e-mail to let us know which class you are interested in and what day you will come. We’d like to help and get to know you. For the best price, students normally register and pay at the first class of the month for all meetings that month. Otherwise drop-ins pay at each class. Look to the schedule below.

Simorgh School of Dance and Music and Eastern Arts

This Fall we welcome classes taught by our member dancers, instructors, and scholars. All classes are live online or in-person when venue is available. Director: Farima Berenji.

Turkish Folk Dance

with Kevin Greek

Learn some short, fun, traditional folk dances from Turkey and the Near-East and learn of the cultures they represent. Danced solo or in line, these dances are suitable for social dance with friends or performance.

Tuesday 7:00 – 8:00 pm PST (GMT+08), October 5 – 26
$12/class
By online conferencing. Register to obtain link.

Registration coming soon…


Traditional Persian Music Focused on the Seven Dastgahs

Traditional Persian Music Focused on the Seven Dastgahs

Traditional Persian Music Focused on the Seven Dastgahs

with Dr. Lloyd Miller

A dastgah is one of the basic melody types of traditional Persian music as identified by music masters originating from the nineteenth century. It is a melody type that serves as the basis for a performer’s extemporized pieces. Each dastgah has come to identify a mood, color, poetry, song, movement, dance style, and recognizable beauty in classical Persian dance.

An online workshop for musicians and dancers with music scholar Dr. Lloyd Miller. Learn the character and history of each of the seven classical Persian dastgahs with a program of lectures and music improvisation workshops.

Wednesday 7:00 – 8:00 pm PST (GMT+08), October 6 – 27
$8/class
By online conferencing. Register to obtain link.

Register


Beginning Ballet and Dancer Conditioning

with Kiana Gholamy

Enjoy an at-home weekly introductory level ballet and dancer’s stretch and conditioning session.

Thursday 6:00 – 6:45 pm PST (GMT+08), November 4 – 18
$12/class
By online conferencing. Register to obtain link.

Register


Beginning Persian Dance with Maliheh

Beginning Persian Dance with Maliheh

Beginning Persian Dance

with Maliheh Shirvanian

Experience one of the world’s most enchanting dance forms! Inspired by Persian poetry and miniature artwork, Persian and Silk Road dance combines swirling arabesques, sweeping gestures, shoulder isolations, footwork patterns, and dazzling spins. In this introductory class learn the classic movements, styles, and expressions of Persian dance.

Thursday 7:00 – 8:00 pm PST (GMT+08), November 4 – 18
$12/class
By online conferencing. Register to obtain link.

Register


The Seven Valleys of Love

The Seven Valleys of Love

with Jeffery Paul

An hour reading and Sufi discussion within the valleys of The Conference of the Birds. Facilitated by Jeffery Paul.

The Conference of the Birds is an epic Sufi allegory of the world’s birds who set off on a journey to find the Simorgh, a powerful bird of Persian mythology, to ask it to be their leader. The birds are challenged in their journey to cross seven valleys each representing a virtue or trait that they must master and overcome to continue.

Includes practice of these ancient mystical and Sufi healing rituals

  • Sufi Zikr
  • Live Music and Poetry
  • Farima’s unique element Breath Work
  • Meditation and Chanting

Open your heart, body, and mind in this mystical session of meditation, breath work, and healing.

Sunday 10:00 – 11:00 am PST (GMT+08), October 10 – 31
$5/class
By online conferencing. Register to obtain link.

Register

Meet Our Instructors

Farima Berenji

Farima Berenji

Farima Berenji (Director and master classes) is an Iranian-born scholar and an award winning, internationally acclaimed performing artist, choreographer, instructor, lecturer, dance ethnologist, Sufi master, and archaeologist specializing in classical, folkloric, and sacred dances of Persia and the Silk Road. Her training spans a lifetime of intensive collaboration and research with master artists, scholars, and spiritual teachers worldwide. She is the founder and artistic director of the Simorgh Dance Collective, a worldwide collaborative devoted to teach dance technique, interpret, illustrate, present, and perform dances of the Silk Road. In 2018, Farima became the first American-Iranian woman honored to be a TEDx dance speaker and performer. Farima is a member of the International Dance Council (CID – UNESCO), UNESCO, and the National Folk Organization (NFO). Read more..

Dr. Lloyd Miller

Dr. Lloyd Miller

Dr. Lloyd Miller (Persian traditional music, dastgahs) received his PhD in Persian Language and Literature from the University of Utah after spending seven years living in Iran where he had a weekly prime time television program titled “Kurosh Ali Khan va dastan”. His program featured musicians and other artists from around the world. Lloyd was urged to leave Iran during the revolution in the late 70s, though he had never planned to leave. An expert in world music including American jazz, Lloyd has made numerous recordings. The most popular being “Oriental Jazz” first released in 1968 and recently re-released by Vinyl Me Please selling thousands of copies worldwide. A film about Lloyd’s extraordinary life, including 6 years in Europe as a jazzman and university student where he played with some of the most well-known musicians of the time is soon to be released. It was in Paris that Lloyd met Dr. Daryush Safvat who became his lifelong mentor and who taught Lloyd the importance and significance of Persian classical music. Founder of Eastern Arts, with the blessing of Dr. Safvat, Lloyd has taught music, philosophy, history, dance and culture to thousands of students at various universities for over 40 years. Read more…

Seyed Salmon

Seyed Salmon

Pir Seyed Salman Hosseini (Sufism, Sufi music, maqams, tanbur) possesses a bachelor degree in music ethnology and is an Iranian traditional music researcher, composer and a master musician of tambour, setar, tar, and rebab. He directs the traditional Persian music ensemble Cherikeh which has been performing sacred and traditional music for many years. Seyed has produced many albums including Javdanegni and Tabeh Ghaleh. He is the music director and composer for films such as Song of God and Gadam Yar. Seyed has composed and performed more than 40 concerts and TV programs including composing music for national broadcasts of Iran. He has performed professionally in Iran, Germany, Syria, and the Iraqi Kurdistan region. Additionally, he is a Sufi master and has his own school of music and mysticism.

Kevin Greek

Kevin Greek

Kevin Greek (Near East Folk Dance) began dancing at the early age of 5 and so far hasn’t been able to stop. As an international folk dancer and proponent for over 30 years, he travels the globe in dance regularly throughout Europe, the Balkans, the Middle East, Asia, and occasionally Latin America and Africa yet still returns home nightly. An avid and lifetime learner of dance from all cultures, he has studied and performed dances of the Silk with Farima Berenji since January 2009, Bollywood dance since 2006, was a guest member of Stanford’s Yore Turkish Folk Dance ensemble from 2011-2011, and has performed ethnic dance at multiple venues and festivals. Kevin is a board member of the Folk Dance Federation of CA, N, and was its 2015-2017 president. Kevin enjoys ethnic dance music and has an extensive recording and dance notes collection.

Katherine St. John

Katherine St. John

Katherine St. John received a Master’s degree in dance pedagogy from Brigham Young University and a Master’s in Persian from the University of Utah and completed coursework for a PhD in dance history and theory from the University of California. Katherine has performed and choreographed for theater, dance companies, operas and at universities for 30 plus years. She was an artist in residence teaching world dance to students throughout Utah and neighboring states for 20 years. Her Master’s thesis is about dance in Herat Afghanistan from 1970-1980 during Russian interference. Read more..
 
 
 

  • Homerya Banejad and Ensemble

    Homerya Banejad: Daf.
  • Jeffery Paul

    Jeffery Paul

    Jeffrey Paul: Sufism, meditation, Sema.
  • Kiana Gholamy

    Kiana Gholamy

    Kiana Gholamy: Beginning Ballet and conditioning.
  • Maliheh Shirvanian

    Maliheh Shirvanian

    Maliheh Shirvanian: Beginning Persian dance.

Persian Mystical Dance and Sufi Whirling

Discover the power and mystery of sacred dance and whirling as a gateway for self-growth and spiritual enlightenment through movement, music, and meditation. Persian sacred dance and whirling is inspired by nature, ancient Iranic rituals, and the beautiful spiritual traditions of Sufism. Farima’s unique teachings also include the basis of ancient rituals, science of whirling, and the sacred geometry of whirling. Class starts with breath work, a warm up, and progresses into Sufi whirling technique, and more. Iranian, Turkish, and Central Asian styling will be covered.

Beginning

Learn the basic techniques, history, and concepts of sacred dances and Sufi whirling of the Silk Road. You will learn essentials of preparation, maintaining balance and posture, controlling dizziness, self-focus during turning, breath work, and more. Traditional sacred dance styles and group healing rituals of Iran, Turkey, and Central Asia are covered. This is a beginning level/ technique only class only. No experience necessary to begin participating.

  • Module 1 (November): Essential techniques and breath work.
  • Module 2 (December): Styling and sacred elements.
  • Module 3 (January): Building speed and confidence, additional styling including hand use, and an introduction to head tossing

The three month module starts in November. Students are encouraged to complete all modules in their order before taking Advanced Persian Mystical Dance and Whirling.

Saturday 10:00 – 11:00 am PST (GMT+08), November 6 – 27
$20 – Drop-in
$15/week – Entire month, paid in advance or first class of month.
In-person or online conferencing. Register to obtain link.

Register


Advanced

A Celestial Journey

Part of the Advanced Persian Mystical Dance and Sufi Whirling series.

Next our Advanced Persian Mystical Dance and Sufi Whirling will venture into space and explore planetary motion…

Learn dances, turns, and healing movements following planetary energy and motion as inspired by ancient Iranian rituals. According to the ancient Iranic culture and Yarsan Sufisim, the human being is born with seven souls, which are represent the potential powers of the seven planets in man. The souls are manifested though the seven senses, the seven vital organs, and the seven bodily systems. Each of these seven souls has a planetary name.

You will learn:

  • Dances and whirling motion following the planets and galaxies
  • The connection between astrology and the body
  • The Dance of the Shamseh (Sun)
  • A beautiful sacred dance choreography

Join Farima Berenji to learn and dance the remarkable connection between our body and planetary motion and help open the pathway to the soul.

Saturday 11:15 am – 12:15 pm PST (GMT+08),
$20 – Drop-in
$15/week – Entire month, paid in advance or first class of month.
In-person or online conferencing. Register to obtain link.

Begins November 2021

Sacred Circle and Sufi Lecture

An hour of ancient mystical and Sufi healing rituals facilitated by Master Farima Berenji and Master Seyed Salman Hosseini, with special guest lecturers and musicians, including

  • Farima’s unique element breath work
  • Meditation and chanting
  • Live music
  • Sema (whirling dance meditation ritual)
  • Poetry reading
  • Sufi Zikr (Yarsan and Khorasan Zikr)
  • Ancient Iranic Zoroastrian rituals and mantras
  • Lectures and discussion on Yarsan Sufism practce (sohbet)

Open your heart, body, and mind in this mystical session of meditation, healing, and lectures.

Sunday 10:00 am – 11:00 am PDT (GMT+08)
By online conferencing. Register to obtain link.


Resumes November 2021

Dances of Persia and the Silk Road

Experience one of the world’s most enchanting dance forms! Inspired by Persian poetry and miniature artwork, Persian and Silk Road dance combines swirling arabesques, sweeping gestures, shoulder isolations, footwork patterns, and dazzling spins. In this class we will learn various Persian and Central Asian dance movements, vocabulary, styles, expressions, turning, and short sequences. Class will also focus on the historical aspect of each dance style, costuming, and music.
Saturday 11:15 am – 12:15 pm PDT (GMT+08), September 18
$20 – Drop-in
$15/week – Entire month, paid in advance or first class of month.
In-person or online conferencing. Register to obtain link.

Returns November 2021

Yarsan Sufi Music Theory

An online lecture course for musicians and dancers with Pir (Sufi Master) Seyed Salman Hosseini and Sufi Dance Master and Scholar Farima Berenji.

A study of Yarsan and Iranian Sufi music. Learn the history and listen to an in-depth analysis of the seven Sufi sacred maqams and its association with Iranian Sema, sacred movements, and healing. Highly recommended for those studying Iranian Sufi instruments, music, and dance. Also includes lectures on the importance and history of the tanbur and tanbur making in Iranian mysticism.

Private lessons are available in tar, setar, and tanbur with Sufi Master Seyed Salman Hosseini.
Wednesday 8:30 pm – 9:30 pm PDT (GMT+08)
$10 – Drop-in
$8/week – Entire month, paid in advance or first class of month.
By online conferencing. Register to obtain link.

Returns November 2021

Class Montage

All programs are copyright the Farima Dance Company.