Khafif, formed in January 2001, is a group of musicians and dancers who enjoy sharing the beauty, style and tradition of Middle Eastern music and dancers with others. The word Khafif is a Middle Eastern musical term meaning "quickly" or "lively".       

Khafif performs in a variety of styles.  Our dance features steps and moves from Africa and parts of Central Asia, as well as from the Middle East.  Our music is also very diverse: we play everything from Turkish folk songs to Kurdish line dances to Bulgarian country tunes.  Many of the pieces Khafif performs are a combination of choreography and improvisation.  Although we have a set musical and dance repertoire, we enjoy experimenting with new styles and feelings, so pieces can change from performance to performance.

We would like to share our joy in this music and dance with you, our audience and friends.

The Simurgh

    The bird we use as our icon, and the more elaborate one as background are representations of the Simurgh (shih-MURG).  This bird is a creature from Persian mythology, whose name has been translated as "30 birds".  This translation comes from an Islamic poem called the Mantiq al-Tayr, or Parliament of Birds. This poem is about a group of a thousand birds who follow a feather dropped by the Simurgh.  When they finally arrive at its dwelling place, they number only thirty.  Upon seeing the king of birds for the first time, they realize that they are the Simurgh and the Simurgh is each and all of them.  An immense bird of spectacular plumage, is said to be so old it has seen the destruction of the universe three times over.  Because of this, it possesses all the knowledge of the ages.  It lives in the Tree of Knowledge, and it is said that when it alights, the sound of its wings is like thunder and the wind from its wings blows seeds from the tree throughout the world.  The touch of the Simurgh's wing can cure all illnesses.

"And silently their shining Lord replies:
'I am a mirror set before your eyes,
And all who come before my splendor see
Themselves, their own unique reality...

...The Simurgh, Truth's last flawless jewel, the light
In which you will be lost to mortal sight,
Dispersed to nothingness until once more
You find in Me the selves you were before.'"
           -Mantiq al-Tayr, or the Parliament of Birds

Check out our schedule of performances.