At present Zia is the only person, I know of, who is teaching Sufi dance in Mumbai. She is known to have been practicing this for over a decade now. She has also developed Sufi Splendour, a presentation of Sufi Whirling & Sacred Dances and Indian Classical Odissi Temple Dances. The demo video can be seen at www.youtube/sufisplendour.
The workshop started with the first obligatory of Gurdjieff movements and then we went on to do whirling. On the second day, Zia taught us some movements to a Sufi Zikr and introduced us to Persian Waltz. On the third day leg movements were added to the first obligatory, and it started getting increasingly challenging. We also practiced Persian Waltz and whirled for a longer duration.
George Gurdjieff is an east European mystic who trained with Sufi teachers in the middle east. He developed many movements that were based on traditional dances that he studied during his travel across central Asia, India, Tibet, the Orient and Africa. These movements can be peformed correctly only when you are totally present in the moment. This is an exercise in developing your awareness.
Zikr means remembrance. A Sufi Zikr is remembrance of God in the form of recitation or lyrical chanting. "Allahu Akbar" is a Zikr and it means "God is Great". On the second day we performed some movements to the Zikr, "la ilaha ilallah". It means "There is God and only God". I picked the rhythm quickly and in a short while tremendous energy was flowing through my body. It felt like I had blended with the movement. If I had continued with it for some more time, I might have reached a trance like state. It was a totally uplifting experience.
By the end of the workshop I felt some kind of openness in the chest. I guess I had just started connecting with my heart.
The next beginners workshop in Mumbai is happening on 3rd - 5th December, 2010. For registration and information, call: 98214 70396 or 022 2648 7184.