Friday, August 26, 2011
Derviche Tourneur from Réno Violo on Vimeo.
The Mevlevi Order of Sufis of Turkey, the ones we know as the Whirling Dervishes, are monastics whose prayerful dances are rarely seen. When they do appear in public nobody applauds because the audience understands they are witnessing a ritual trance that unites them with God. The Order was founded in the 13th century and named after Mevlana Jalal al-din Rumi who ended one of his poems with the line: 'dazed by the marvels of love, our whirling endures'.
The Dervishes make very precise movements with their hands while turning and every gesture is symbolic. The right hand is turned upward to receive Allah's grace and the left hand is turned down to convey that grace to earth. The left foot is kept as still as possible.
I found a video of a tanoura dance based on dervish technique which is often used to entertain tourists and parties in Turkey and Egypt. I'd never seen it before and thought you might enjoy it too. The dancer may not be a Dervish but you can see just how mesmerizing it is to witness the whirl taken to a whole different level.
A Dervish turns from right to left embracing all creation as he chants the name of God within the heart for the enrichment of this earth and the well-being of all.
Maybe we should all dance for that even though whirling would make most of us fall over.