“Teaching dance teaches life lessons.” ~Anonymous


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.


Those who register for more than one monthly dance course (not drop-in) are eligible for a $2 discount or rebate per class meeting. Ask us for details.

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.

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

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


Dance and Whirling of the Elements

For February and Module 2 of this series we will study sacred dance and whirling movements of the sacred elements, movements essential to Persian sacred dance and Iranian Sufi whirling. Dances, turns, and healing movements are inspired directly from the four sacred Iranic elements: Fire, Water, Earth, and Air are considered invaluable in Zoroastrianism and Iranian Sufi culture.

Note: If you missed module 1 or would like to review classes we have a special Patreon group you may join and view the recorded classes of module 1 that started last December.

Saturday 10:00 – 11:00 am 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.



Wings of Light

Learn whirling and Persian mystical dance movements inspired by the sacred birds.

In ancient Persia, birds were a symbol of a deity or “Yazata” the guardian of the celestial body and the Messenger of Light. They were revered because they were thought to reveal, by their behavior, the will and intent of the Gods. It was also believed the bird portrays not only the spirit of life but also the human soul.

In this class, you will learn to incorporate the whirling movements, vocabulary, styles, and healing power of these birds in sacred dance and whirling

Lessons include:

  • Whirling and sacred dance movements and styles for each of the Persian sacred birds
  • Communication with birds through dance and ritual
  • The mystic and healing messages of the sacred birds

Recommended for advanced dancers.

Saturday 11:15 am – 12:15 pm PST (GMT+08), Meets February 2022
$20 – Drop-in
$15/week – Entire month, paid in advance or first class of month.
In-person or online conferencing. Register to obtain link.

Essentials of Persian Dance

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 and practice technique for various Persian and Central Asian dance movements, vocabulary, styles, expressions, turning, and short sequences all featuring Farima Berenji’s own unique style and technique. Class will also focus on the historical aspect of each dance style, costuming, and music. No experience necessary.

Saturday 12:30 pm – 1:30 pm PST (GMT+08), Resumes February 2022
$20 – Drop-in, $15/week – Entire month, paid in advance or first class of month.
In-person or online conferencing. Register to obtain link.

Meditation, Healing, and Sufi Studies

Sacred Circle and Sufi Lecture

Sacred Circle and Sufi Lecture

Facilitated by Master Farima Berenji and Pir (Master) Seyed Salman Hosseini. Open your heart, body, and mind in this mystical session of meditation, healing, and lectures.

Sacred Circle includes

  • Farima’s unique element breath work
  • Meditation and chanting
  • Live music and poetry reading
  • Sema (whirling dance meditation ritual)
  • Sufi Zikr (Yarsan Khorasan Zikr)
  • Ancient Iranic rituals and mantras
  • Lectures and discussion on Yarsan Sufism practice (sohbet)
  • Special guest lecturers, dervishes, and musicians

More in-depth knowledge, Sema teachings, and practices for Zikr, fasting, and prayers are provided to Morids (students taking the Sufi path).

Topics vary weekly and monthly. Open for all to participate. No experience needed. Feel free to bring a poem, story, or your music to share.

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

View future sessions..

Yarsan Sufi Zikr Practice

An online weekly practice group for Iranian Zikr facilitated by Farima Berenji. Iranian Sufi traditions covered include Yarsan, Qaderi, Qalandari, Baluchi, Turkmen and more.

Zikr is a form of moving meditation, a ritual prayer or litany practiced by Sufis for the purpose of glorifying God and achieving spiritual perfection.

Tuesday 7:30 pm – 8:30 pm PST (GMT+08), Resumes February 2022
By online conferencing. Register to obtain link.


Persian Classical and Sacred Music

Yarsan Sufi Music Theory

History lecture and lessons in various Sufi and Yarsan Music 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, history, and craft of the tanbur 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 PST (GMT+08)
$10 – Drop-in
$8/week – Entire month, paid in advance or first class of month.
By online conferencing. Register to obtain link.


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.

Class Montage

All programs are copyright the Farima Dance Company.