TEDxYYC 2018 Speaker Highlight: Farima Berenji

Apr 11, 2018

Farima Berenji:  A rich history of dance

Farima Berenji is an internationally acclaimed performing artist with a lifelong passion for dance and its ability to bring beauty and spirituality into our lives. A passionate teacher, performer, dance ethnologist and archaeologist, she has won awards for her work in preserving ancient ritual dances. She is renowned for bringing beauty and history to others through her performances, and for her deep commitment to preserving this important piece of Persian culture.

We are so pleased to welcome Farima Berenji to TEDxYYC 2018. We recently caught up with her to chat about this year’s event, with the hope of sharing a bit of the magic she’ll bring to our stage in June.

Why speak at TEDxYYC 2018?

Berenji was in Calgary lecturing and teaching when she met one of the co-chairs of TEDxYYC. His curiosity about her work led to an interesting conversation, and he encouraged her to bring her message to this year’s event. She applied and was delighted to be accepted to speak. After all, her focus and mission is to preserve these ancient ritual dances, share why they are important, and inspire creativity in those she teaches. This means sharing her story, and message, as widely as possible.

Her passion is irresistible when she speaks of the role dance has played in her life. She shares these rituals because at her core, she believes they create unity and harmony. This was the legacy of these dances but over time, people have lost the connection. She feels strongly that bringing these ancient rituals back to life will help bring positive change to our lives.

Why you need to see Farima Berenji at TEDxYYC 2018

Berenji hopes that people realize we need dance as much as we need math, science, and anything else we learn in school. We need these traditions and history to be brought back to our families, communities, and society. Through dance, we can learn the cultures of others. She will ensure these dances are preserved so that we don’t lose the history and connections that are woven through them. Video will never replace growing up with dance in your family, seeing others dancing, and taking part yourself. Physically and mentally, these are important traditions to preserve.

While Berenji has always had a vision of teaching dance and sharing the history behind it, she also knows the value of being able to bring it to a wider audience. She also is committed to sharing these ritual dances to help combat misunderstanding of the Persian culture in the west. Her hope is to share the beauty, light, warmth, and connection that she has felt in this culture all her life. She knows that music and dance are positive ways to share them.

The importance of dance is an idea worth spreading

Dance has been a lifelong passion for this talented performer. At a very young age, Berenji heard the stories shared through dance in her family, and decided on dance as a career. At the age of 12, she was told she danced beautifully and asked to teach dance to small children in her community. While unsophisticated in method at such a young age, Berenji had found her calling…and enormous talent. She loved the experience so much, she told her mother that she wanted to teach. This is what she wanted to do with her life. Instead of discouraging her, or trying to guide her to other areas, her mother encouraged her and supported her dream.

Berenji continued to dance, and learn everything she could about these ancient ritual dances. She has spent her life becoming a rare expert in dance history and a teacher/lecturer/performer. Seeing students perform dances is deeply rewarding for her, as that is where her passion began. She also is inspired by her work with organizations such as UNESCO, where she is able to visit villages and share different dances between them. A third generation artist, she travels worldwide to lecture, perform, educate, and to inspire creativity through dance and movement.

Berenji is the founder and artistic director of the Farima Dance Company and the worldwide Simorgh Dance Collective. This is the first Iranian dance company, directed by an Iranian woman, to perform during a reception for President Obama.

We look forward to welcoming Farima Berenji to the TEDxYYC 2018 stage! Buy your tickets now!

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