Rana Gerjani insists on practicing her passion for Sufi dance, as she now offers educational classes through the “Zoom” application after the Corona pandemic prevented her from reviving her performances in theaters.
This French-Iranian woman is one of the few “dervishes” who profess this traditional spiritual expression that constitutes for her a way to “make sense of existence”.
The 37-year-old has aroused admiration and amazement since her beginnings on the stage 10 years ago, as the performers of this traditional Sufi ritual based on spin and meditation are usually men, despite the participation of a number of women in special events, from Turkey to Afghanistan.
Gerjani, who has long, curly black hair, confirms to Agence France-Presse that she had always believed that her passion for Sufi dance should be kept “in the private sphere.”
Sufi dance or dhikr is known by the word “Samaa” in Turkey, which is an Arabic word. It is based on rotating around the soul “from the left side always, that is, the side of the heart, in the direction of the earth’s rotation around the sun”, to reach a state of spiritual ecstasy.
Rana Gerjani adopted the Sufi curriculum since the age of 14, after her first visit to her home country. Over the years, she has trained in this traditional ritual, often secretly participating in several events in Iran and also in Turkey.
In France, Rana, whose parents emigrated from Iran after Khomeini’s accession to power, gave up her career as an actress to focus on Sufi dance.
The dervish dance is one of the most famous Sufi dances, and it is one of the features of Sufism methods to follow the jurist and poet Jalal al-Din al-Rumi, who lived in the thirteenth century AD.