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Tom Malcolm and Denise Runyoe lead participants in a Sufi dance. (photo by Aaron Zaremsky)

All You Need is Love

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The Beatles would have been ideal Sufis. Love is the central theme of this branch of Islamic mysticism, which emphasizes the divine love of God and unity between all beings. The Sufi dances exhibit these spiritual ideals in a touching way, as demonstrated by Tom Malcolm and Denise Runyoe this Saturday evening.

Participants stepped in time to a small drum and soothing Arabic chants expressing God as “love, lover and beloved”. After each dance, there was a moment of silence, and a strong impression that everyone was truly enjoying each other’s presence.

The Yellow Springs Kids Playhouse requested the dancing. The summer musical, “The Conference of the Birds”, is an old Persian folk tale with cultural ties to the Sufi dancing. Tom and Denise will be organizing another session before the show next Saturday at 6 pm. Anyone interested in Sufism, Persian lore or new experiences in general is encouraged to come.

The event was part of the Yellow Springs Experience, which features more than 80 cultural and artistic events and runs through July 18. For more information on the Experience, go online to

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