Sahba Aminikia hadn’t planned on dancing when he stopped by Club Deluxe in the Haight to unwind and hear a little jazz three years ago. But the band was swinging, and before long, he found himself boogieing with a young Italian woman. The Iranian-born composer was in a very good place in his career, teaching at the Academy of Art University while writing music performed by top-flight ensembles around the world, including Kronos Quartet.
During a break in the music, the woman related a fantastical story about an organization teaching circus arts to children who’d fled war and repression in Syria, Iraq and Turkey. Forcefully struck by the unlikely vision, Aminikia set out on a quest that ultimately led him to give up his secure academic day job in San Francisco in order to establish the 2018 Flying Carpet Festival in the remote southeastern corner of Turkey.