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. 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. Unless otherwise stated, no refund or credit for missed classes. No class video or music will be shared. Weekly class videos are available for viewing by becoming a member of our Patreon channel.

If you have questions on classes and offerings you are welcome to contact us.

Persian Sacred and Silk Road Dance

Our San Jose dance classes appear at the Cope-a-cabana concert and event center.

View all upcoming dance classes and workshops…

Persian Mystical Dance and Whirling

Learn the technique, rituals, and theory of sacred dances of Persia and the Silk Road as well as Sufi whirling in this intensive three month course with Master Farima. Farima’s teachings are based on her research in ancient rituals, the science of whirling, and sacred geometry. Learn the essentials of preparation, maintaining balance and posture, controlling dizziness, self-focus during turning, breath work, and devotional dances. Each class will include lecture, intensive core strengthening and ballet technique, warm up, and drills.

  1. Module 1: Beginning technique, breath work, and rituals
    Learn and practice essential techniques of breath work and preparation, maintaining balance and posture, controlling dizziness, and self-focus in Iranian and Central Asian whirling and sacred dances.
  2. Module 2: Sacred dances of the elements and whirling
    In this series we will study sacred and devotional dance along with Sufi whirling based on the sacred elements of fire, water, earth, and air that are considered valuable in Persian culture.
  3. Module 3: Dance and whirling of the timeless
    In this series we will continue at an advanced level to build speed and confidence, learn blocking and releasing, hand use, torso and head tossing, and more devotional movements.

No experience necessary to begin participating. With help anyone can learn and master whirling techniques while respecting one’s own limitations.

Module 1: January 7 – 28, 2023
Saturday 10:00 – 11:00 am Pacific
$20/week – Entire month, paid in advance or first class of month.
$25 drop-in
In-person or online conferencing. Register to obtain link.

Reigster

Become a Sacred 1 Member – Ahurani member of Patreon to receive class videos and additional exclusive content such as music, mini-tutorials, and more. Membership is $60/month.


Warriors of Light

Ancient Iranic Warrioress’ Dances, Whirling, and Rituals

We will take on the path of the ancients, a journey of discovery, in space and time to reconnect with ancient Iranic warrioresses, empresses, and priestesses. Drinking deeply from hidden wells of inspiration, now being revealed in our time, we re-discover our empowerment in the process. Join us on an exciting and unique journey of inner and outer exploration as we awaken the ancients within us.

Open for both men and women, this intensive workshop will be based on Farima’s theories and research on movements, ritual dances and symbols of the Iranic and Mesopotamian female commanders, empresses, and the Iranic Hamazons (Amazons). The class will have an overview of various devotional dances and whirling based on archery, spear, and horse maneuvers in war practice originating from these ancient warrior tribes. This intensive will include:

  • The Lioness – lecture and dance based ancient Iranic empresses.
  • Warriors of Light – lecture and dance based on ancient Iranic Hamazons (Amazon warriors) and commanders.
  • Awakening – lecture and dance based on priestess rituals, gods and goddesses, and temple dance.
  • Epic dances based on legends of the Shahnameh (The Book of Kings), the Medes, and Pre-Elimite Dynasty, and warrior sema (whirling dance).

Channel your inner warrior and learn to practice the sacred dances of the great Iranic warriors.

Saturdays 12:30 – 1:30 pm Pacific January
$20/week – Entire month, paid in advance or first class of month.
$25 drop-in
By online conferencing. Register to obtain link.

Reigster

Beginning Persian Dance Series

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, turns, and short sequences. Class will also focus on the historical aspect of each dance style, costuming, and music. Farima will teach her own unique technique and style based on years of research and field work. Each class will include lecture, intensive core strengthening and ballet technique, warm up, and drills.

  1. Module 1: Essentials of Persian Dance
    Our focus will be on basic Persian dance techniques, the three rules of dance, vocabulary and styling, sequences, traveling, and patterns, upper body and torso movements, isolation and drills.
  2. Module 2: Ornate Gestures and the Art of Expression
    Class will focus on hands, fingers, arm, upper body and facial expression, body language, and narrative gestures that are essential elements in all forms of Persian dance.
  3. Module 3: Persian Miniature Art Dance and Geometry
    In this class we will bring the art of Persian miniatures and sacred geometry to life. Learn to incorporate use of sacred geometry, symbolism, asymmetrical and symmetrical form, and patterns in your dance. Discover the art of improvisation to create your own dance. Students will work toward participating in Roya (Dreams), a beautiful choreography based on sacred geometry.


Module 1: January 7 – 28, 2023
Saturday 11:15 am – 12:15 pm Pacific
$20/week – Entire month, paid in advance or first class of month.
$25 drop-in
In-person or online conferencing. Register to obtain link.

Reigster

Become a Persian Dance – Ahurani member of Patreon to receive class videos and additional exclusive content of this class such as music, mini-tutorials, and more. Membership is $60/month.

Meditation, Healing, and Sufi Studies

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), Next class January 8, 2023
$5/class
By online conferencing. Register to obtain link.

Register
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 7:00 pm – 8:00 pm PST (GMT+09),
Free
By online conferencing. Contact us 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)
$8 – Drop-in


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 hateaching/schedule/s 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

Homeyra Banejad is an Iranian daf player and vocalist. As a member of the Iranian Musician Union of Iran she has performed in Iran and the US with Sima Bina, Hamed Nikpay, Simin Ghanem, and many more artists!
 
 
 

  • 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.