What we're about

Together we’ll create a sacred space in which we can safely listen to and share our true selves and experience oneness with the Divine. Through meditation, prayer, drumming, singing, poetry, and the whirling dance of the sufis, we join together in unity and experience our limitlessness. You don't have to be a Sufi or a Muslem. Our practice is open to anyone who sincerely desires to experience unity.

While there is only one truth, there are many expressions of it, and many traditions and communities of Sufis. We have primarily learned from and follow the teaching of the Paris-based Sufi Dance artist Rana Gorgani, who is herself of Iranian descent and studied among the gypsies of Iran.

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Upcoming events (5+)

Whirling (Sufi Dance) Practice with Live Music

CRS (Center for Remebering & Sharing)

$25.00

We invite you to join our Sufi Dance community for an hour of meditative whirling known as Samâ (spiritual listening), hosted by Sufi Dance Artist Lâle Sayoko with live music by Iranian daf player Kamyar Arsani. Together, we create a sacred space for you to free your mind, transcend your limits, and share your light. By receiving the divinely inspired vibration of the music and developing our control of the body while surrendering the mind’s worries, let’s share the ecstasy that arises with repeated whirling. This is not a class (i.e. there is no instruction) but an open space where we can come together to practice and is open to people of all backgrounds who whirl and follow the path of oneness. You should already know the basics of how to whirl. If you have not already learned whirling from a Sufi teacher — for example, from our teachers Rana Gorgani, Lâle Sayoko, or Paola Garcia or from a Sufi lodge or community — please first attend one of our Sufi Dance classes with Lâle Sayoko, which takes places the first Thursday of each month from 7:30 – 9 pm at CRS, to learn the basics. Sayoko is also available for private instruction weekdays and weekends by appointment. Please remember that whirling commonly induces dizziness or nausea. Avoid eating a large meal for two hours prior to class. Over time, through whirling, we learn to trust ourselves to go off balance, to be dizzy, to surrender control, allowing us to whirl for longer periods. You do not have to whirl for the entire hour, but you are encouraged to explore whether your perceived limits are immutable or only self-imposed. Please wear comfortable clothing (white, gray or black color is preferable, avoiding prints and shiny material which might distract the eye while whirling) safe for dancing in (for women your tops should have straps or cover your shoulders so as to be secure) and wear socks or soft soled shoes. If you have a whirling skirt, please feel free to bring it. $20 with advance registration, $25 at the door About Sufi Dance Artist Lâle Sayoko Lâle Sayoko lives to embody and transmit the voice of spirit through music and dance. As CRS resident Sufi Dance instructor, choreographer, performing artist, and musical curator, she loves to welcome people into this holy practice to explore and share their own divinity. After a long professional dance career, she retired to support her young daughter through a life-threatening medical crisis. Several years later she discovered that she could whirl as a form of prayer to support her daughter and began studying Sufi Dance with Paris-based Sufi Artist Rana Gorgani. 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 currently teaches Sufi Dance classes at CRS every 1st Thur of the month from 7 – 8:30 pm and leads the CRS Healing Circles + Whirling Prayer that take place every 3rd Thur of the month from 7:15 – 9 pm. https://www.facebook.com/lale.sayoko About Musician Kamyar Arsani Kamyar Arsani (daf) is a multi-instrumentalist, singer and songwriter born and raised in Tehran, Iran. Kamyar’s musical mission is to spread cultural awareness and unity by mixing contemporary musical trends with traditional Persian folk music. A multi-instrumentalist Sufi poet, from age 7 he studied Daf (Iranian frame drum) with Master Bijan Kamkar. After mastering the Daf, Kamyar learned Kamancheh (Iranian bowed string instrument) with Master Ardeshir Kamkar and Sohrab Pournazeri. In the midst of the Green Revolution in 2009, Kamyar and his family left Iran and now reside in Washington, DC. He produced his first solo album in 2015, titled “No Freedom.” Kamyar also plays in 2 other collaborations: “Huda & Kamyar,” a Daf and Oud Duo, and “Time is Fire,” a weird world/post-punk band. https://music.blightrecords.org/album/voices-in-the-dark https://kamyararsani.bandcamp.com/releases

Persian Daf (Sufi drum) classes

CRS (Center for Remebering & Sharing)

$50.00

Dear friends, we are excited to have Kamyar Arsani‘s Persian daf lessons at CRS on a monthly or near monthly basis! This is a wonderful opportunity to learn to play a magical instrument from a master who learned from masters in Iran. Kamyar has been playing and singing for decades and recently for our Sufi Dance events at CRS when he is in town and taking us ever deeper into the heart. Daf is a big frame drum with lots of rings inside that you can shake when you play for added effect. It is an integral part of Sufi and Persian music because of the variety of sounds it can produce and its ability to induce trance. Let’s learn the basic techniques together so we can play for one another at our Sufi events including our next public Sufi night in September! 10:30 am – 11:45 am Beginner lesson 11:45 am – 1 pm Intermediate lesson 1 lesson $50 both lessons $70 Register here: https://bit.ly/2S2ddZQ Bring your own Daf or frame drum, a pen & a 3–line or 5–line blank musical staff notebook (or paper, which you can find templates of online to print). Some Extra Dafs are available to rent ($5) for the class, but you must RSVP because they are limited and you will want to get your own so you can practice! While many different dafs are available for purchase online, one such as this one, which has a synthetic head, is reasonably priced at $119, has good tone and construction, is not too heavy, and can be delivered in a few days by DHL, would be a great choice for learning on: https://salamuzik.com/products/professional-daf-rad-404 About Instructor Kamyar Arsani “Kamyar Arsani is a multi-instrumentalist, singer and songwriter born and raised in Tehran, Iran. With his focus on Daf (Persian frame drum), through years he expanded circle of his instruments to Drums, Percussions, Guitar, Ukulele and Melodica. He currently resides in Washington D.C, teaching and performing around DMV area and working with individuals with Autism. Kamyar began Daf lessons with Master Bijan Kamkar. Kamyar has spent over a decade performing and researching the Daf and its roots. His second choice of instrument was the kamancheh (Persian string bow instrument) and he studied it with Masters Ardeshir Kamkar and Sohrab Pournazeri. Ten years ago, Kamyar and his family migrated to the United States around the same time that Iran’s Green Revolution was occurring. Kamyar’s songs and performances are very much inspired by the people of Iran and their history of struggle and protest. At the time he started working as Autism classroom Teacher Assistant in Virginia and Washington DC public schools, and the science of Behaviorism and creating motivation for students with Autism became his passion. But he did not put music behind, Kamyar produced his first solo album in 2015, entitled “No Freedom.” It was written on Guitar and Ukulele. The album was dedicated to those oppressed by Iranian Government. https://kamyararsani.bandcamp.com/releases Aside from his solo work, Kamyar also plays in other collaborations and has performed series of concerts at Kennedy Center, Library of Congress, Georgetown University, UMD, WVU and VOA. Kamyar is also the poet and singer of “Time is Fire (TiF).” Their music has been described by Washington Post as “Music from a country that does not exist.” https://youtu.be/2rn3u92MAR8 (Kennedy Center Performance) With the new wave of hatred portrayed among our nation, Kamyar could not sit quiet and wrote four songs inspired by Rumi and Hafez and Ferdowsi poems on his Daf, inviting people to believe in a new spring together. He collaborated with Benjamin Schurr of Blight Records and produced an electronic backed Daf album called “Voices in the Dark” , which can be found on Blight Records Bandcamp (Production of DC,2018) https://music.blightrecords.org/album/voices-in-the-dark For more information you can contact Kamyar at: [masked] Instagram: @kamyararsani FB: Kamyar Arsani

Intro to Sufi Dance

CRS (Center for Remebering & Sharing)

Learn the ancient practice of meditative whirling known as Sufi dance or Sema (Sama in Iranian). You will learn the techniques of whirling, but Sema is not about reproducing a certain form or aesthetic. Rather, the technique serves as a vehicle for inner journeying. Sema means spiritual listening. Together we’ll create a sacred space in which we can safely listen to and share our true selves and experience oneness with the Divine. Each class consists of some explanation of the theory and technique, exercises, practice whirling, and sharing and discussion of what you experienced and felt. $20 with advance registration, $25 at the door https://crsny.org/index.php/ongoing-classes/ Whirling commonly induces dizziness or nausea. Over time, through whirling, we learn to trust ourselves to go off balance, to be dizzy, to surrender control. We empty our minds of all thoughts of the individual self as we give ourselves over to prayer and connect with a greater power, the still center within, around which we turn. Into this emptiness floods a divine fullness, which sometimes gives rise to a state known as “mystical intoxication,” a reflection of knowing and experiencing that you and I and the Divine are One. Please wear comfortable clothing (white, gray or black color is preferable, avoiding prints and shiny material which might distract the eye while whirling) and wear socks or soft soled shoes. If you have a whirling skirt and/or a frame drum, please feel free to bring it. Avoid eating a large meal for two hours prior to class. Learn more about Sufi dance: https://www.moroccoworldnews.com/2016/09/196246/the-one-thing-in-the-world-you-must-never-forget/ About Sufi Dance Instructor Lâle Sayoko 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. Lale 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. With CRS co-founders Yasuko Kasaki and Christopher Pelham, she leads the CRS Healing Circles + Whirling that take place every third Thursday of the month at CRS (2nd Thursday in Aug 2018). http://www.lalesayoko.com

CRS Healing Circle: Meditation + Whirling Prayer

CRS (Center for Remebering & Sharing)

$25.00

Join us for our monthly Healing Circle & Whirling practice. We gather to let go of our small selves and remember our divinity within. Through meditation, prayer, drumming, singing, and the whirling dance of the sufis, we join together in unity and experience our limitlessness. Our circles are held on the third Thursday of the month at CRS. We will enjoy herbal tea and a snack at the end! Please feel free to bring your frame drum, rattle, flute, whistle, chimes, singing bowl, or other instrument. You don’t need to be experienced. Together, we will learn to listen to one another, play together, and express ourselves and find Oneness of intention. Please do not eat for two hours before the start to reduce your chance of feeling sick during the whirling, and wear only solid colors as patterns can distract the eyes of those who are whirling. The participation fee is $20 with advanced registration and $25 on the day of the class. Direct registration link: https://www.crsny.org Through whirling, we learn to trust ourselves to go off balance, to be dizzy, to surrender control as we give ourselves over to prayer and connect with a greater power, the still center within, around which we turn, that we may share our divine strength and bear witness to the divinity in others. If you are quiet and in a state of prayer when you Turn, offering everything of yourself to God, then when your body is spinning, there is a completely still point in the center… The heavens respond; and all the invisible kingdoms join in the dance. But the world does not understand. They think we Turn in order to go into some sort of trance. It is true that sometimes we do go into that state you call ecstasy, but that is only when we know and experience at the same time. We do not Turn for ourselves. We turn around in the way we do so that the Light of God may descend upon the earth. As you act as a conduit in the Turn, the light comes through the right hand, and the left hand brings it into this world… We turn for God and for the world, and it is the most beautiful thing you can imagine. — Mevlevi Shaikh Suleyman Hyatt Dede

Past events (28)

CRS Healing Circle: Meditation + Whirling Prayer

CRS (Center for Remebering & Sharing)

$25.00

Photos (27)

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