Rana Gorgani, one of the rare female whirling dervishes, elevates Sufi dance to the rank of spiritual art. This biography reveals the essence of this virtuoso, sometimes called the popess of Sufi dance, even if it is not easy to understand the one who readily cites Rûmî to introduce herself: “I am neither from the East nor from the West, neither from the land nor from the sea. […] My place is the non-place, my sign is the non-sign. I am neither body nor soul, for I belong to the Soul of souls. »
Born in Germany to an Iranian mother and a Kurdish father, Rana grew up in France, where she lives today. Music is her first encounter with Sufi spirituality, when she plays the daf, this sacred frame drum of Kurdish origin. Sufism then became the red thread of his life and his source of inspiration. This relationship to spirituality is not only a story of origin: whether by practice or by intellect, Rana devotes her life to this unique subject.
Born in 1984, Rana studied philosophy and then theater, joining the Paris Conservatory. She began her career teaching this art and performing in various plays.
En 2008, during a performance staged by an Iranian, his vocation is essential. The piece features a Persian dance and Rana then realizes that she can express who she is in the dance. She abandons everything and begins to travel to the East. There followed many years of apprenticeship in Iran and its surroundings, where Rana trained in Iranian and neighboring dances.
En 2009, she founded the “L'Œil Persan” company, the first company to promote traditional dances from the Persian world in Europe. Prestigious collaborations are already emerging: with the Guimet Museum for several seasons, but also with the Institut du Monde Arabe and cultural actors in Brazil and New York. If the shows created have a Sufi anchoring, Rana takes the whirlwind only with modesty.
En 2014, to deepen her knowledge of dance, she began a Master's degree in ethnomusicology and anthropology of dance. She evolves between Europe, where she continues to perform, and Iran where she carries out her research work among the Qashqa'i, one of the nomadic peoples of the country. Life among them is a new trigger: even if they are not Sufis, they live daily as required by Sufi spirituality. Rana realizes it then: everything belongs to everyone.
En 2016, with the end of her research, she makes a decision: to stop performing traditional dances. By reproducing these dances which are not hers, she has the feeling of disguising herself. If she goes on stage, it must be authentic. Only Sufi dance allows her to dance as she breathes. Without any certainty except that of following her heart, she strips herself of her old practices.
En 2017, his Sufi brotherhood ordains him master. She refuses this status to honor another commitment. She will transmit this spirituality well, but through her art. This demanding choice will prevent her from returning to Iran. It is in Turkey that she will now go, where she joins the Mevlevi order, the brotherhood of whirling dervishes.
Regular physical training, the teaching of Sufi dance and meditation, the creation of shows, the necessary time to recharge one's batteries and the opening of a Sufi temple, this unique spiritual and artistic place in France: the agenda of Rana is always full. Those who read in Persian, however, always find time to continue studying the writings of Rumi. All of Rana's teaching is inspired by the spiritual message of this XNUMXth century mystical poet who profoundly influenced Sufism. Rumi invites the being to question the symbolism of love which, for him, is not a feeling, but a quest. The practice of music and dance, a true spiritual path, is the path to opening the heart. Other mystical poets such as Hafez, Attar, Saadi inspire Rana's creations.
Rana's strength is to take Sufi spirituality into unexpected universes.
En 2017, she accepts the invitation of Marie-Agnès Gillot, star of the Ballet de l'Opéra, to dance at a carte blanche event in Paris.
It was a success and the start of many collaborations: Rana danced at the Opéra Garnier under the direction of Dimitri Chamblas for the 70th anniversary of Longchamp; she collaborates with the duo Bird on The Wire; she created the show Trans-derviche with the group Haïdouti Orkestar; she presents danced lectures in conservatories; she works with choreographer Mehdi Kerkouche; alongside Simon Ghraichy, she danced at the Institut de France, the Institut du Monde Arabe, the Festival 1001 notes...
Year after year, Rana's art becomes essential. Her work is recognized by UNESCO with whom she takes part in numerous conferences and events in Greece and Canada. She shares her practice with as many people as possible with the documentary Les chemins du sacre by Frédéric Lenoir for ARTE. She is regularly invited to dance and teach at many festivals in France and abroad: the Festival On danse chez vous at the Théâtre National de Chaillot, the Festival des Suds in Arles, the Balbek Festival in Lebanon, the Al-Burda Festival in Dubai… Through her numerous collaborations, through each of her performances and through her shared knowledge and know-how, Rana is undoubtedly the greatest ambassador of Sufi spirituality in the West.
Aurélie Croiziers de Lacvivier