Solstice Dance of Oneness®: Rumi and the Celebration of Light
 | Workshop at Esalen, CA

Solstice Dance of Oneness®: Rumi and the Celebration of Light
 | Workshop at Esalen, CA

5-day workshop with Tony Khalife with musical guests

Join us in this magical time of the year to celebrate Rumi’s Wedding Night on December 17th—his passing into union with the Beloved, and the birth of the sun on Winter Solstice through sacred dance, Sama/whirling and live music.

“Even if the darkness of hell should swallow the sun and the moon, where is your flame, where is your light?” – Rumi

In ancient Persia, the Winter Solstice marks the beginning of the year and the birth of light that 9 months later becomes the full fledged sun on Fall Equinox. It represents a speck of light appearing in the heart of darkness that expands through endurance like the yang growing from the depths of yin.

Journey into the symbolism of light emerging from the depths of darkness and give birth to the light within yourself through the poetry of Rumi and the ritual of whirling that guides us into becoming conduits of light in the dark.

Master teachers of embodiment Banafsheh and Tony will lead a nurturing weave of structured and free-style dance with vocalization, whirling, chanting, live music, meditation, wisdom teachings and lots of laughter. On the Solstice we will create a spiral of light ceremony to return to the flame shining brightly in the center of our beings that guides us into the world with lucid, grounded, loving discernment.

Workshop includes a Solstice spiral of light ceremony, performance and ecstatic dance celebration.

You will learn:

  • The movement meditation of Sama/whirling
  • Vocal techniques taught by Tony Khalife
  • The poetry of Rumi
  • Zikr or chanting
  • Grounding, releasing, centering and opening dance and movement techniques in preparation for
  • Sama/whirling
  • The symbolism and ritual connected with the Winter Solstice (Yalda in Persian) and the inner journey it represents
  • The ceremonial ritual around Rumi’s Wedding Night
  • Tools to access joy, peace and lucidity in your daily life

Mixed Levels

Suitable for women and men with little or no background in movement or dance as well as trained dancers, yoga and other movement practitioners. The only pre-requisite is a desire to connect your mind, body and soul through sacred movement. This workshop counts as 26 hours towards the 200/400-hr Dance of Oneness Certification Program.

Please dress comfortably in what makes you feel beautiful and bring a notebook, and soft-soled shoes or socks to dance in. One complete attire in white is recommended but not required.

Esalen Institute in Big Sur is truly a treasure as one of  most amazing places on our beloved planet Gaia. The area is considered one of the vortices of the Earth. Great organic meals mostly from the Esalen garden, natural spring hot tubs under the sky overlooking the Pacific Ocean, Esalen massage and great opportunities to hike and commune with this sacred Native American land are among the many attractions.

Register now
Call 831-667-3000 or Email

“A guide and a mystic, Banafsheh is an unexpected gift in my life. I have reconnected to the divine around and in me and feel empowered to share this loving with others.”
Kathi Coyle, workshop participant, Rowe Center, 2016

“This is deep soul healing for me. Dancing with Banafsheh and Tony is my spiritual practice. It has opened me to new truths. I love them both so much, they bring such love, joy and light into the world. I love the tenderness and the ability to flow with what is present in the moment even if it is grief. This is pure magic!”
Kira Preston, workshop participant, Esalen 2016

“I was immensely moved! It was fun, meaningful, spiritual and educational! Helped me integrate and invigorate! I feel more ALIVE and grounded in my spirituality. I feel committed and more clear about my personal path in life.”
Deborah Braun, workshop participant, Esalen 2016

Dance of Oneness®: Body of Light | Workshop at Schweibenalp Center of Unity, Switzerland

Dance of Oneness®: Body of Light | Workshop at Schweibenalp Center of Unity, Switzerland

5-day workshop with live music by Raphael Duss and Bahri Egribas

Begin to live your dreams and create positive change in yourself and the world through sacred dance!

Open your being to the realization that you are light and here to bring light by coming in touch with your chakras and energy anatomy through luscious dance, stillness, chanting, wisdom teachings, play, lots of laughter and live music: Daf, Ney, Oud and Kamancheh on 2 days with master teacher of embodiment Banafsheh in one of the most beautiful and pristine sacred sites on our planet, high up in the alps.

Guided by Sufi teachings, explore the foundations of Dance of Oneness® and cultivate radiant presence in your body through a focus on the chakras. Tune into the wisdom of your body and begin to radiate more life force, joy and vitality. Transform the old rigidities, discomfort and disease that come from a mechanical way of being in your body.

The rigorous yet accessible technique of this 7-step process is based in Sufi ritual, Persian, Middle Eastern Tribal and contemporary dances, flamenco, Tai Chi and free-style dance—all of which awaken and nourish a different facet of being human. We will also explore the Sama or whirling as central to the embodiment of light. These modalities — all aspects of Dance of Oneness® – are designed to release blockages, ground, center, open your heart, promote flexibility, strength, exuberance and profound peace while serving as tools for being present, conscious, creative and in compassionate service. 

The Center has wonderful accommodations including organic food that they grow on their own sustainable grounds. You will have ample time between our sessions that are 3 hours in the morning and 2 hours in the afternoon on most days to soak in the beauty and inspiration of this magical site, go for hikes, a swim and participate in the Center’s regular pujas including fire ceremonies.

Dance of Oneness® is dance as a spiritual path and a science of embodiment. A fusion of the art of dance: rigorous technique and self-expression; wisdom teachings; and healing, Dance of Oneness® draws from Sufi ritual and whirling, Persian dance, flamenco, tai chi, mystical teachings and the poetry of Rumi, divine feminine wisdom, Gurdjieff Work and Chinese Medicine.

You will learn:

  • Ways to find ease and comfort in your body
  • How to access your radiance and express it in your daily life
  • Dance and movement techniques that bring you in touch with the 7 chakras
  • Tools that make you strong yet gentle and graceful
  • Tools you can apply in your daily life to access peace, joy and lucidity regardless of the circumstance
  • How to be present
  • Express your creativity in dance and movement
  • Fundamentals of grounding, centering and moving with grace
  • Elements of Persian dance
  • Elements of flamenco
  • Elements of Middle Eastern Tribal dances
  • Elements of Tai Chi
  • Whirling
  • Veil dance
  • The experience of Light upon Light, central in Sufism

Mixed Levels. Open to all, men and women
Suitable for those with a background in dance and movement. The pre-requisite is a desire to connect your mind, body, feelings and soul through sacred movement. This workshop counts as 26 hours towards the 400-hr Dance of Oneness® Certification Program.

 

Register below | Tuition: $600
Deposit: $200, $400 due by July 1, 2017
Registration Form
Please download the form, complete it and save in order to email it as an attachment

Book accommodations directly with 
the center; pricing ranges from 83-145 CHF, includes 3 vegetarian meals/day and internet access

For more information call + 1 310 499 7100 in the US or + 41 77 412 82 93 in Switzerland
or email

“I have never felt so held, so encouraged to explore my inner-most being. The gifts that I leave here with are impossible to enumerate. Banafsheh is a gift, a rare jewel who inspires and empowers all who come into contact with her. I am eternally grateful.”
Angel Caban, past workshop participant

“Banafsheh’s program is extraordinary – a complete arrangement of dance, music, meditation, focus, discipline and life experience. I’m not someone who connects with the holy that easily, but I felt holiness in Banafsheh’s art and that is what I truly revere and bow down before. After eight days, I felt an amazing level of energy, without pain anywhere and completely relaxed. Thank you for this gift, I will always guard it carefully in my heart.”
Farzaneh Aryaee, past workshop participant


Mystical Andalusia | Workshop in Granada and Pilgrimage in Spain

Mystical Andalusia | Workshop in Granada and Pilgrimage in Spain

Ibn Arabi, Rumi and the Dance of Oneness® with Andrew Harvey and Jim Garrison and guest musicians
5-day retreat at Lucia Yoga Center, Granada, Spain
Followed by a 2-day pilgrimage to Cordoba and Seville, Spain

Ignite your creative flame, ground your passion and what makes you most ALIVE through a weaving of sacred dance set to world music, Sama/whirling, zambra/flamenco, free-style dance, zikr/chanting, meditation, yoga, Sufi teachings, poetry, history, philosophy and excursions to the sacred sites of Andalusia with master teachers Banafsheh, Andrew Harvey and Jim Garrison. Uncover the connection between the flame of flamenco and the flame of the Sufi Sama/whirling. We will explore flamenco as the spirit of Rumi’s beloved teacher and friend, Shams and the meeting of the East as represented by Rumi and the West as represented by Ibn Arabi.

Surrender your heart to dance, music, poetry, and the teachings of Ibn Arabi, known as the “Greatest Master” by Sufis, who opened up the Path of Knowledge, and Rumi, who opened up the Path of Love inspired by his beloved Shams. Although they lived nearly 1,000 years ago, Ibn Arabi’s path of gnosis and Rumi’s vision of sacred passion can galvanize our hearts and minds in this time of hyper complexity, turbulence and uncertainty.

Dive into their transformative knowledge of the divine and practice of love, and surrender through the Dance of Oneness. Immerse yourself in a sacred field of empowering grace that supports you in living with reverence and light from your deepest passion in the very midst of life.

The setting is Andalusia, where from the 8th to the 12th centuries, Islam established a garden of tolerance and peace between Judaism, Christianity and Islam that enabled a flowering of civilization in that region that inspired the world with its poetry, architecture, education, music, law, writing, and inclusive spirituality. It provided a model of mutual respect and civility that can inspire the world today.

We will base the journey in Granada where we will visit the magnificent Alhambra Palace complex and other sacred sites including the Moorish Baths and the Sacramonte caves to watch zambra/flamenco. After our immersion in Granada, we will make a pilgrimage to Cordoba to visit the Mosque of Cordoba and the Alcázar de los Reyes Cristianos, and onto Seville, famous for flamenco.

Banafsheh Sayyad and Andrew Harvey will be the principle faculty, joined by Jim Garrison who will provide historical and philosophical context for the Islamic conquest of Spain and the flowering of civilization that occurred there, framing its relevance to the complexities of our current civilizational challenges. Never before in history has the world more urgently needed the inspiration of inclusive embodied spirituality.

Dance of Oneness® is a joyous, loving and contemplative way to embody Spirit and live more freely, passionately and of service in the world. As a science of sacred embodiment, it brings together three dimensions: the art of dance explored through rigorous technique and self-expression; wisdom teachings; and healing. Dance of Oneness® is based in Sufi ritual and whirling, flamenco, Persian dance, trance and Tai chi. Sufi teachings, Divine Feminine wisdom, the Gurdjieff Work, Chinese Medicine and the Chakra system are the theoretical groundwork. Dance of Oneness® is open to everyone regardless of your background in dance and movement, age, gender and especially physical impediments. One of the main mottos of this form is “don’t be limited by your limitations!” The sessions are offered at mixed levels and is open to All.

Suitable for people with little or no background in movement or dance as well as trained dancers, yoga and other movement practitioners. The only pre-requisite is a desire to connect your mind, body and soul through sacred movement.

Co-presented by Wisdom University and the newly inaugurated School of The Dance of Oneness® at Ubiquity University, this workshop fulfills 26 hrs towards the 200/400-hr Dance of Oneness® Certification.

Of the 28-hour instruction/programing in this 5-day workshop, 15-16 hours are dance/movement. Participants will receive 26 hours of credit as the rest of the teachings fall in the category of wisdom teachings, a facet of Dance of Oneness®.

Tuition: $1,400 | Register now
Email for more info
Logistics, daily schedule and faculty bios

These poetic lines from the two greatest Sufi mystics describe the longing that leads the heart to break open and give birth to the ecstasy of surrender to a deeper experience of truth:

O Marvel! A garden amidst the flames.
My heart has become capable of every form:
it is a pasture for gazelles and a convent for Christian monks,
a temple for idols and the pilgrim’s Kaa’ba,
the tables of the Torah and the book of the Quran.
I follow the religion of Love: whatever way Love’s camels take me,
that is my religion and my faith.
Ibn Arabi

Give me ecstasy
Give Birth to the Beloved in me, and let this Lover die!
Let a thousand wrangling desires become one blazing love.
Jalaledin Rumi

“Tender transformation of ancient quiescent love to soul-awakening passionate love, poetry, and joyful freedom to dance!”
Vivianne Chu, workshop participant, Hollyhock 2016

Amazing Sufi musicians will travel from Morocco to join us for our Sama (Sufi whirling):