Banafsheh Sayyad uses dance as a spiritual path

Dance of Oneness workshop in Qualicum Beach

Banafsheh Sayyad, a Persian sacred dance master, is bringing her teachings to Qualicum Beach.

The Dance of Oneness is April 15 and 16 at the Qualicum Beach Community Hall (644 Memorial Ave.). The cost of the workshops is $250.

The April 15 workshop runs from 2-6 p.m. and the April 16 workshop runs from 10 a.m to 1 p.m. and 3-6 p.m.

Sayyad will be leading the classes while Tony Khalife, a Lebanese-born singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist, will be performing the live music.

Sayyad said there will be freestyle dancing, meditation, chanting and singing. The workshop is for mixed levels, so people of various abilities can move together.

Dance of Oneness is meant to celebrate spring and the resurrection of life expressed in nature through a transformative dance to live music.

Sayyad said she will also interweave wisdom teaching from the divine feminine wisdom, Sufi teachings and from Christ. She said they will also be looking at the goddess traditions. Sayyad said it’s important that the class is held on the Easter weekend, but the workshop isn’t specific to any religion.

“The Dance of Oneness is inclusive to all, no matter what spiritual path you’re on,” she said.

The wisdom teaching, Sayyad said, will come from these traditions. Sufi teachings and the poetry of Rumi, divine feminine wisdom, Gurdjieff Work, the Chakra system, sacred experiential anatomy, physiology and Chinese medicine are the theoretical groundwork of Dance of Oneness, according to Sayyad’s website.

The Qualicum Beach Dance of Oneness workshop is being organized by Vivianne Chu. She said she had hardly ever danced in her life, having dropped out of every class she ever tried. Then by chance, Chu said, she ended up taking a dance workshop from Sayyad at Hollyhock on Cortes Island.

“I think it was a combination of Banafsheh’s passion with dance,” Chu said. “Which she exuded through her whole being and virtually every word she spoke that first night of gathering together with 14 other women, and the depths of the spiritual dimensions I entered through guided movements, along with profound inner journeys that evolved over the days of her workshop.

“That inspired me to organize and sponsor this upcoming workshop in Qualicum Beach.”

Since that first workshop, Chu said, she has taken two more workshops with Sayyad in California and Massachusetts. Chu said she felt inspired to bring Sayyad to the community and to share her gifts of love, healing and spiritual oneness.

The Dance of Oneness was designed by Sayyad for sacred embodiment, personal development, beauty, healing, vigor, empowerment and divine service.

“Depending on our theme,” Sayyad said, “I will bring snippets from the teachings and as we learn, we become and inspired and learn how to really embody these teachings.” First and foremost, Sayyad said, people will learn how to be in their body in a way that is at ease and comfortable and learn how to embody themselves.

“It’s the most important for me because I’m dedicated to helping people,” she said.

While the Dance of Oneness teaches divine feminine wisdom, Sayyad said her work isn’t just for women.

“Men also attend and the men benefit from a conscious embodiment; that concept of you coming into your body.”

Sayyad said some of the movement may appear to be feminine, but there is a wide array of movement that can apply to men.

Another takeaway from the workshop, Sayyad said, is for people to come in touch with their beauty and grace, so people who don’t think of themselves as dancers can begin to incorporate dance into their lives.

“Weaving grace and beauty into everything you do, that becomes something that people really learn from this workshop,” Sayyad said. “Integration of the mind, emotion and soul in the body, this is a body-based practice of integration of different aspects coming together through the body.”

To register for the workshop, visit www.banafsheh.org or call Vivianne Chu at 250-927-7728.

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