Banafsheh Sayyad

Internationally-acclaimed Sufi dance artist, transformational teacher, mystic and healer, Banafsheh  has blazed an unique trail in contemporary dance. Born in Iran, her electrifying and wholly original dance style fuses together Flamenco, Tai Chi, Gurdjieff Movements and the sensuous ecstasy of Persian Dance with the austere rigor of Dervish whirling, "fusing ancient forms with a postmodern punch" (LA Times). Known for her innovative movement vocabulary, Banafsheh  is one of the few bearers of the authentic Persian dance form in the world, an innovator of Sufi dance previously only performed by men, and a pioneer in a style she has created called Dance of Oneness®,  which fuses rigorous dance technique with spiritual embodiment. She is one of the only dance artists in the world who has mastered a fusion of high level dance technique with spirituality. Banafsheh’s  dance is what “for the first time one could call contemporary or modern Persian Dance– a dance with its own artistic language, neither Eastern nor Western. The dance form created by Banafsheh Sayyad can only be called the Banafsheh Dance, representative of Persian culture much like how Flamenco is particular to the Spanish culture ...” (prominent Iranian critic, Shokooh Mirzadegi). Banafshehholds an MFA in Dance from UCLA and an MA in Chinese Medicine. Banafsheh's solo and ensemble work with her dance company NAMAH hasve been presented extensively in North America, Europe and Australia where she has gained tremendous audience and critical acclaim. Her 2011 dance film In the Fire of Gracewith Andrew Harvey traces Rumi’s journey of the soul in dance. Banafsheh teaches retreats and workshops across North America, Europe and Turkey. She currently lives in New York. Part whirling dervish, part flamenco femme fatale, sensuous and audacious,Banafsheh’s dance is a mesmerizing foray into the body as trance mechanism; a DNA strand, supple, fluid and noble, come to life.