I had the pleasure of attending Banafsheh's a performance at Kripalu Center in MA. In watching her dance, I knew I was witnessing a master performer in action. Banafsheh is the quintessential professional in her field not only as a dancer but as an artistic interpreter of Rumi and in explaining the brilliance of that renowned Sufi mystic.
Renowned Author and Teacher
Banafsheh uses dance as a holy ritual. Her dancing is more than a feast for the eyes, it's a joy to the spirit and an opening of the heart.
Renowned Author and Teacher
Banafsheh is not only one of the greatest and inspired dancers in the world - and this is an opinion shared by many connoisseurs of dance - but she is also a wonderful teacher very precise and humble and grounded in the way she embraces all of her pupils and releases their deepest possibilities. I have had the honor of teaching with her a course that linked her form of dance with Rumi's way of divine love both in America and Canada on several occasions and so know the power of her teaching first hand and consider her my teacher of Sacred Dance as well as someone of the deepest integrity. Working with Banafsheh on the film In the Fire of Grace has been one of the most inspiring experiences of my life, both an initiation and a revelation. It is very rare to find an artist of such grandeur who also has the selflessness to teach with great patience and compassion.
Author, Mystic and Teacher
Banafsheh is magnificent!
New York Times Bestselling Author
Banafsheh is the ultimate artist, the one who says yes to creating her own way and sees too the value of establishing true technique to support that way. It is a privilege to watch her beautiful dance. Watching her move is to watch an ecstatic. What is so extraordinary about ‘Banafsheh Dance’? Her hands are so graceful and beautiful to watch. Her body merges with the music and with spirit and she moves with a divine integrity. She is like water: flowing and strong. I cannot get the images of her turning out of my mind's eye. Banafsheh is really extraordinary, her whole being becomes transformed into fluid strengths and poetry. Congratulations to her for achieving such a high level of mastery.
Legendary flamenco Dancer, Choreographer & Banafsheh's beloved flamenco Teacher
Banafsheh, the number of people you have healed must be in many 1000s. Your prescriptions and treatments do not have adverse side effects. They are "Controlled Time Release" fixing, the body, mind, soul, the conscious, and subconscious aspects of people with therapeutic benefits radiating to their friends and family.
Dr. Mohammad Navab, Professor, UCLA Cardiology
Master of Mystical Persian Dance, when Banafsheh teaches or performs, she moves with an attitude of liquid gold pouring over silk velvet. Banafsheh embodies what it means to dance with abandon, and to live the ecstatic poetry of Rumi as luminous moonlight on radiant silver clouds. Watching her dance is to glimpse something both otherworldly as well as fully grounded in the momentous meaning of the present.
Editor in Chief, LA Yoga
Banafsheh's Dance of Oneness series is a powerful immersion into the center of our spiritual being. Through her chosen avenue within the medium of dance, she draws on her spiritual cultural forms, bringing together levels of earth and heaven within herself as a pure and fluid vehicle, expanding possibilities through Presence and embodied Awareness. From the form of her personal inheritance of Persian dance as well as other traditional dances like flamenco, she opens inner space, becoming a Container of Love in a new and evolving expansion of boundaries and awareness, evident in her powerful movements and her soft surrendered curves. In these days when our spiritual traditions are hitting up against globalism, everything is in question and change. Banfsheh's dance embodies this new awareness and supports its growth. Audience and students alike receive her vibrations, passing on a new torch of fire and light through resonances deeply felt in our hearts through her pure aesthetics. Her total mind-body Awareness, the opening of energy fields, is an absolute prerequisite to sustain the "turn" of the Whirling Dance, connected to particular energy fields moving in unity without ourselves when the dance becomes Worship. What she brings supports our connection the the Divine Oneness as well as our Humanity, allowing us to serve as a bridge between divine energies and the world in a most natural and beautiful way.
Amy Barker-Wilson, visual artist, spiritual dance practitioner, Mevlevi Samazan
Banafsheh facilitates a sensuous, feminine, powerful embodiment of the soul, a spiritual path that I am dedicating myself to exploring. She holds a loving and vibrant energy for the room that enables me to go further than I could by myself.
Susanne Bowra, PhD, Schweibenalp, Switzerland 2017
I’m always amazed by Banafsheh’s great even energy and her love affair with all. ‘To heal by becoming one’, was my personal favorite sentence.
Catherine von Graffenried, Schweibenalp, Switzerland 2017
Banafsheh is a wonderful teacher in dance, spirituality, and holding space. A beautiful woman and dancer, she sets an example.
Elischewa Dreyfus, Schweibenalp, Switzerland 2017
Banafsheh maintains a high vibration which is ennobling and uplifting. She holds participants in their highest and embodies the ideals which she teaches. She is a master leader, facilitator and dancer who creates a comfortable framework for all to experience and learn.
Brigid Donohue, Schweibenalp, Switzerland 2017
Banafsheh’s loving presence of the divine is INCREDIBLE and deeply inspiring. She lives the aspect of the divine Mother and I always felt held and deeply supported in the workshop.
Celia Dobroschke, Schweibenalp, Switzerland 2017
Banafsheh magically unites all participants into a circle of interconnection, love, respect and caring for each other, for Gaia and our world’s well-being. That’s why I believe that her work is greatly needed in order to heal and activate as many people in as many countries as possible to help our Mother Earth to become a place of Peace and Love.
Banafsheh’s art is that she is able to reveal our best, our talents, unique capabilities. I have studied with her for 10 years. It has been a never ending desire to come back, to return into her embrace and experience bliss, activation and aliveness all over again! I always get in touch with my best self in her presence, not speaking of what has been brought into my creative life as a result of her magical work. I have earned freedom in my stage dance performances. I’ve incorporated movements from her classes into my daily exercise routines. I am mindful of my presence in my work interactions, and that I am responsible for making a difference in well being of people around me and especially of my patients.
Banafsheh is on a mission in this world to liberate us from ‘smallness’ and to lead us to our ‘greatness’; to bring awareness to our sacredness; to give us a ground so we could ground ourselves; to give us the wings so we could FLY!
Irina Azarova, RN, Schweibenalp, Switzerland 2017
Banafsheh is the ambassador of peace, love, and oneness. She is also a healer who reconnects body and soul.
Farzaneh Aryaee, Schweibenalp, Switzerland 2017
Deep reconnection to my body and my soul, like a homecoming. With every Dance of Oneness move we dance into unity and connection, healing for peace and freedom on our our planet.
Susan Wacker, Schweibenalp, Switzerland 2017
With Banafsheh, very moment is in the present and every moment is dance…
Véronique Boissin, Schweibenalp, Switzerland 2017
Incredible! Banafsheh is a gift from God. A pure soul who brings joy to the world with her gift of love and dance. It was a magical experience.
Linda Blake, The Rowe Center, MA 2017
This workshop was an incredible marriage of rigorous dancing and merciful understandings. Thank you Banafsheh for unapologetically being who you are and sharing what you uniquely share in the world - what the Divine offers through you. Thank you for so generously sharing your practices and the wisdom that brought you to these practices and the wisdom that moves through you during these practices. Thank you for embodying, listening and honoring as a way of life and for that being an implicit and explicit focus of the workshop.
Candice Salyers, The Rowe Center, MA 2017
I experienced a deepening within Soma - touching the Divine, unfathomable power that encompasses all and a deep humility to have allowed it to move through me. I experienced the joy of community, the humanity and spirit present in each person I connected with. The simple joys of eye gazing, physical touch and sharing a sacred space. I felt the loving guidance and spirit of Banafsheh as she gently held a loving space for us to move toward and remember our true selves. The music and the space at Rowe also helped enormously in creating a fertile environment for growth. When I close my eyes I see trees and beautiful souls sitting in a circle in love. I take that with me.
Elena Kowalsky, The Rowe Center, MA 2017
I have learned a new spiritual practice. Banafsheh’s preparation and instruction was so helpful and beneficial to me in so many ways. When we began to whirl I was esctatic to discover I could do it! Without getting dizzy! I feel I have been in subliminal time ever since I came - I have learned so much! About my body and moving in a spiritual way - making a spiritual connection through movement.
Jean Ando, The Rowe Center, MA 2017
Dance of Oneness feels deeply resonant with my being and body. I love Banafsheh’s fluid and open teaching style and how much love, joy and presence she brings to the circle. Tony is a gem! What a sweet heart! And his musicianship...oh my goodness...I loved being taken into the dance with his music.
Mira Sophia, Vancouver Island, Canada, 2017
I could feel very deep this love from universe. And with your poems and movements I could ground it in my heart and in our planet. Thanks for coming so close to my place, to nourish my body and my soul.
Catherine von Graffenried, Bern, Switzerland 2017
Thank you for a most interesting, intriguing and dynamic workshop in Qualicum..I feel so blessed to have received this taste of what you do, leaving me very hungry for more…
Shirley Pratten, Vancouver Island, Canada 2017
MIRACULOUS, TRANSFORMATIVE, SOULFUL!
Banafsheh’s sacred presence, every word she speaks exuded radiance of passion, love, and divinity! I entered moments of feeling myself being fully in my heart, from the radiance and ever presence of love and passion in the room, and experienced moments of dancing with abandon, with a flood of love flowing through me, supporting me, shedding my self-consciousness, melting the density of my body, re-discovering and embracing my own femininity, parts of which I had buried long ago.
Vivianne Chu, Esalen Institute, CA 2016
Dance of Oneness is very inspiring particularly for women like me who need encouragement in their confidence that we all can move and dance beautifully in our own way.
Monica Levine, The Rowe Center, MA 2016
Looking at Banafsheh in front of Mother Mary's image, she is a replica of her…she is her daughter...
Banafsheh embodies Mary's divine feminine love. I saw at the end of our sharing circle people were blossoming like flowers. So different than the first day. What a magical transmutation...
Roseline Koener, The Rowe Center, MA 2016
The last 9 years have involved an accident, surgeries and a heart attack. As a woman who has already loved movement, dance and hiking, but feeling my body be creaky, stiff, sore, breathless, etc, this has been a real bummer. This Dance of Oneness got my body to soften and feel exuberant. As for my spirit - this has been a much-needed and true UPLIFT!
Sandra Fisher, The Rowe Center, MA 2016
Banafsheh has the gift of holding space in deep love and integrity.
Kathy P. Benson, The Rowe Center, MA 2016
Every workshop with Banafsheh brings me a step closer and deeper into my soul, while befriending, loving and adoring the Beloved. I am deeply grateful for Banafsheh’s immense wisdom and heartfelt support.
Helen BetGivargis, The Rowe Center, MA 2016
I didn't know what to expect from my impulsive decision to go to Esalen and chose Banafsheh’s workshop only because I like to dance. I was blown away by how deeply I connected with the dance of oneness. I feel more balanced, grounded and light, powerful and feminine than I think I have ever felt. A truly beautiful and inspiring week!
Carolyn Doherty, Esalen Institute, CA 2016
Banafsheh empowers each one of us – we all have our own unique gifts and mission, and “small” is just as big. Banafsheh honors each one of us and our gifts in an egoless, loving way.
Akshara Sangiorgio, Hollyhock Retreat Center, Canada, 2016
Banafsheh is spectacular. Her force, energy, expertise, and love are all present and she is able to guide an amazing experience.
Paul Todisco, Dance of Oneness, Los Angeles 2016
I saw the sun in one of your hands and the moon in the other and your body the map of the universe. Stars came out of your hair with each rotation.
Davood Roostaei, Artist, 2016
I felt that I could fully express myself, my body and any insecurities with ease and grace. I was made to feel welcomed and nurtured. The presence that Banafsheh brings to presence is a whole new level. I feel like I can say that I finally have a role model in my life that I can look up to who is from the Middle East, my region, my culture, my world. This is the greatest gift. She has inspired my to keep pushing boundaries and reaching for the stars while holding dear our ancestors and heritage.
Zena el Khalil, Schweibenalp, Switzerland 2016
I can’t say it enough - the practice that Banafsheh offers is so so precious. She (Banafsheh) is a gem in this world sharing a medicine much needed. Dance of Oneness is a powerful practice of Love…
Madhurima Braaten, Hollyhock, Canada 2016
Despite having an autoimmune disease that causes fatigue and considerable chronic pain, I experienced this workshop as an invigorating and joyful reconnection with my body; the program left me not only with less pain than when I began, but with a hopefulness that I can once again dance as I did as a child and young woman, once again dance fully present in the moment, both lost and found in the wonders of life, music, and love.
Sabrina Wolf, Menla Center of Happiness, NY, 2016
Banafsheh is a true inspiration as mentor and the embodiment of the divine feminine. She is truly beautiful divine human being. I came out of the workshop with powerful tools to accompany me on my path and share with others.
Ginou Choueiri, Schweibenalp, Switzerland 2016
I feel the depth, the love, the power, the unity of Banafsheh’s work and again I am struck that this is way beyond physical dance. Yes, the dance is the vehicle, the embodiment for what we need in this life and yes, she is much more than a "dance teacher." She is imparting the healing truth of our being and opening the door to longing for transformation and integrating of the whole of ourselves and God. And for that, we must meet our shadows.
Joan Englander, CA 2016
I've taken numerous dance, spirituality and wellbeing workshops and classes in LA, the Bay Area and in Europe and Banafsheh's coaching style is totally unique. She has a way of teaching joy. It was beautiful to dance with her and learn how to access an organic femininity within my movement, centered and natural. It brought out the best of me in my dance both as a child and a woman.
Julia Richardson, Franklin Canyon Park, CA 2016
Banafsheh creates an experience of ecstatic love that is at once transformational and also fully, viscerally, alive in the moment. Her great gift is to make you feel as beautiful as she is, and experience yourself as living love. What joy to be so free in your body and awake in your heart!
Jennifer Haydu, Esalen Institute, CA 2015
The container that Banafsheh created was so nourishing and safe. Her presence led me deeper and deeper within to a precious wellspring of energy. Her guidance helped me still my mind and come into direct contact with the essential seed of my energy. And as I stayed there - I felt that I had more and more access to this vital energy. It was beautiful to then move and dance from this place of rested/centered vitality. I am inspired because I see Banafsheh walk all the time in the world with connection to this direct inner wellspring.
The wisdom of Persian language Banafsheh shared helped me understand the depth of the energy we tap into as women and as whirlers and the way she formulated it made it accessible while holding the sacred/ceremonial aspect of the tradition intact.
Cat Wilson, Hollyhock Retreat Center, Canada 2015
After the workshop I felt very peaceful. To see Banafsheh working with the group with her presence and wonderful way was amazing. I feel sooo alive and filled with love and light!
Carmen Klein, Cologne, Germany 2015
"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, Yalova, Turkey, 2015
A heavenly journey through my body and all that is. Many new experiences flew through my body/mind and soul. With ineffable love and passion for her calling, Banafsheh is guiding through deep aspects of dancing and Sufism. Her gift of transmitting the essential vividness of the heart is deeply touching. Thus, I am deeply touched, in-spired, enchanted and simply delighted by this workshop.
Banafsheh is the love that dances.
Today I whirled like a darvish, I was whirled, It whirled me, I was myself, a tree, Love, Earth, the Universe – all at once. Words are to limited to describe it.
Karin Zettl, Yaa Wali, Germany 2015
The fascinating dance and sounds of Persia transformed the concert hall to a landscape for the senses. Dancer and choreographer, Banafsheh translated the musical intensity and intricate nuances of ZARBANG with the language of her body. Her fluid movements were constantly dynamic, at times floating, then whirling at high speed, opening our vision to new dimensions. With complete mastery of her body, she exuded power down to the tips of her fingers.
Badische Zeitung, Germany
Banafsheh presented a decidedly contemporary innovation to Persian dance, flamenco, trance states, and improvisation. In 'Axis of Love', she took the audience on a simple journey of ascension as she slowly raised her arms, all the while spinning. It could be said it was like the earth spinning; or, like a flower opening up to reach the sky's rays. As the program states, it was "...a structured improvisation exploring the familiar within the infinite.
Monique Molino, Voice of Dance
I had a very powerful experience with this workshop. The warming and peaceful aura that Banafsheh glows with is so contagious. The poem by Rumi really resonated with me, as did the whirling. It truly is a moving meditation. I have not stopped whirling since!
Andrew Connolly, Menla Retreat Center, NY 2015
My search, my quest for spirituality in dance was so intense that when I came to Banafsheh's workshop in LA in 2007 for the first time, I have stayed with her since then. Her teachings, her movements and philosophy of Oneness have become my blood, bones, my essence. She embodies everything that I receive in her teachings. My life has become more meaningful through Rumi’s teachings and sacred movements, which I experience in her workshops. They are like a divine source - always accessible, always with me. Her beautiful work has embraced many countries and people from all parts of the world, and I believe it’s going to be many more to join us so we all become ONE... I feel so blessed to receive his teaching through this portal – how would I access this greatness if not through Banafsheh, our Dancer of Oneness?!
Irina Azarova, Student of Dance of Oneness since 2007
I am deeply grateful to Banafsheh for creating Dance of Oneness. When Banafsheh teaches, she weds Rumi's ecstatic poetry to dance and gives her students the opportunity to experience and embody sacred, mystic teachings through accessible movement. Practicing Dance of Oneness has led me to discover the lover and the beloved, both in me. Banafsheh's teachings are truly transformational when taken to heart. While sharing Dance of Oneness, Banafsheh channels divine beauty and clarity, and her presence in my life has unquestionably helped me heal and grow. Dance of Oneness has inspired me to serve life with love.
Maura Tousignant, Student of Dance of Oneness since 2009
Therapeutic, but much more FUN than therapy!
Dina Hamdy, Integral Yoga Institute, NYC 2015
"As an embodied mystic of the divine feminine, Banafsheh’s presentations are not performances but transmissions which transform your vision of dance forever. Dancer and dance become one initiatory flame of grace."
Dancing with Banafsheh: DIVINE MIRROR OF US ALL
Being in the presence of Banafsheh, we feel the essence of love shining out of her, reflecting our own wholeness. We feel her goodness and melt into our own. We become well in spite of any illness. We dissolve into a pool of lovingness. Moving our bodies, we hear Rumi saying: You are designed to hold the cup of divine wine, the cup of love. You hear your own heart saying: melt yourself into the truth of who you are, supreme beauty in the eyes of the Beloved. This melting heals the stiffness, the resistance, the protective shield, the scars that carry wrong voices throughout our lives, belittling who we are meant to be, who we really are.
The meaning of dancing with Banafsheh is to bring us to our true nature. Her dance techniques increase our fluidity, balance, and flexibility. These are beautiful but would be meaningless if not combined with the Spirit she calls forth. We are invited to allow spirit to descend into our hearts, lighting a candle of peace, a dance of love.
This kind of dance is ageless, speaks to souls laden with life’s burdens. The dance calls us to move out of suffering into the light of oneness. Oneness with the great spirit of life that expands and stretches us beyond limited perceptions of ourselves and our worlds. Calls us to break out of our limits, to touch and be touched by the warm heart of the One who beckons us. We are invited to lay down our protests, disappointments, fears, doubts, and worries, and sink into the all encompassing arms of the magnificent Designer who asks us to go beyond, into the Beyond: with our feet rooted in the earth and our heads touching the heavens.
Banafsheh’s gentle guidance, and the soothing music of Tony Khalife creates for us a dance of meaning, as we come to know ourselves united with all of Life, the Beloved in our souls. This is not an ordinary dance class, a class of body posturing or techniques without connection to inner meaning. This dancing reunites us to peace and harmony, lifts us from our attachments to life’s challenges. We receive this peace while deeply walking the earth. With reverence, we make our time on earth, an offering of love.
A class for anyone, of any age, no experience required. To be in the presence of Banafsheh, of Love, is to know we are united to that which we seek, and this is all we ever need. We know this from our heart, not from ideas. The feminine essence blossoming in Banafsheh is transmitted to us, and is the source of a new vision for our planet: ruling with our hearts instead of our heads, with the intention to heal our planet, ourselves, and each other. We are grounded yet ecstatic, flying into the heart of the All. We grow wings. We are set free.
Author, Teacher, Dancer
workshop participant, Ojai, CA, 2011
Banafsheh's sensational performance New Year's Eve at the Marianne Williamson event was the perfect way to usher in the New Year as she danced us swirling into 2012 with a blazing explosion of energy and beauty....she has amazing talent and created an unforgettable moment for all those in attendance and watching online. She is the epitome of the spectacular lightness of being personified. Simply Stunning. I didn't want it to stop! She created one of my top 10 eternal moments that I'll relive in memory for all time!
audience member, Marianne Williamson New Year's Event, LA 2011
What a beautiful performance we saw tonight at the Lincoln Center! How wonderful it is to watch Banafsheh dance ... breath-taking! Dance of Oneness is a journey of spiritual awakening.
Mary Lou Grolimond Olson
audience member, Lincoln Center, NYC 2013
I just love "In the Fire Of Grace." Banafsheh is an absolutely beautiful, powerful, and amazing dancer!
President, Encinitas Friends of the Arts
Banafsheh’s dancing and ZARBANG’s music were so integrated, so perfect. Banafsheh conveyed the essence of whirling so beautifully it was breathtaking. But beyond that her dance was a language without words which wove worlds of meaning. Her body is a beautiful instrument, and in connection with the musicians such beautiful "visual music" flowed through, and the patterns of movement set up subtle vibrational harmonies. Due to our "mirror neurons" when we are watching, many people will be experiencing the same internal state and our bodies and minds are being harmonized so that we experience a shared reality beyond words. This is manifestation of the Beauty, a taste of the divine through all the senses. It was both unearthly magic and a full incarnation of what only human beings can do - to speak of the Beloved in entirely new creative ways in each moment. For me it was truly a spiritual experience provoking a palette of subtle emotions and ultimately deep rest and gratitude for our Beloved working through these human beings. I was so grateful to be there. Sharing this experience, the audience was being united and that feeling held through the intermission and afterwards. The fabrics were amazing, perfectly chosen in Banafsheh’s artistry, as part of the magic. Her bare feet were entrancing, the way they caressed this earth lightly and lovingly yet confidently expressed our capacities to move, to create, to exult in the joy of the precious, fragile process of being alive.........
Jane Garland, PhD, Vancouver
audience member, Banafsheh & ZARBANG live in concert in Vancouver, 2009
It was such a lovely honor that you were there to take part in this event to honor the Mother. We all loved your performance and the dancing of oneness.
Diana Shakti Contreras, Educator & writer, Professor, CSUN
organizer, Warrior Goddess Diva Event, CSUN, CA 2013
You have integrated God into our human dance and it is a step in evolution. I thank God and you for it.
Joan Englander, Teacher, Author
workshop participant, Ojai, CA 2011
"Banafsheh has inspired my dance soul once again. I had lost my passion for the dance when I experienced a trauma in my life, but because of her It has been restored. She is my favorite dancer of all times, as I can see that she is One with the Dancer of the Universe. I first loved Isadora Duncan, as she was the same."
Jasmine Bonk, workshop participant, Los Angeles
I’ve had the immense pleasure of experiencing Banafsheh's beauty of movement and spirit twice now at Hollyhock on Cortes Island, BC. Her performance the final evening of her program was nothing short of ecstatic revelry. Her fluidity and professionalism sank into our very cells and every person in the hall stood in enthusiastic response to her virtuosity. Our applause and thank you to Banafsheh for her unbridled passion-filled dance. What a true pleasure and joy it is to know her and experience her work. Brava! Brava!
Tess Wixted, Programmer, Hollyhock Center, BC Canada