dervish dance

IMG_1060IMG_1073In the interior of the Tekke (convent) reigns a shady atmosphere and the soft music of flute and tambourines. In the center of a circular hall, men clad in black and with long cylindrical hats are bowing towards an elderly man with a white beard, seated with his back erect and his arms crossed. Slowly moving away, the Dervishes form a large circle, while the music slowly changes rhythm with the sound of the ney, the Turkish flute, which fills the atmosphere with a plaintive and insistent cry. After a long period of meditation the dervishes get up, again forming a circle. Their movement is so slow and concentrated that the observer can hardly acklowledge that they had moved. Their expressions are so much out of this world that their eyes look without seeing: They are looking to the profundity of their own interior world; they are vividly aware of the moment, of themselves, and of what surrounds them.

One by one they remove their black attire, symbolizing the separation from the ego. The tunic that is exposed is called the hirka and is a very symbolic garment, sewn by the dervishes themselves or passed on. Their white tunics shine with splendor. This white garment has a long sleeveless robe, on top of which is worn a short jacket that is tied at the waist. One of them, the Chief Sema dancer (Semazenbası) “stands at the most honored corner of the dancing place, and the dervishes pass him three times each time exchanging greetings until the circling movement starts. This is to be performed on the right foot with accelerating speed. If one of the dervishes becomes too enraptured another Sufi would touch his frock gently in order to curb his movement.” Slowly, raising the right arm towards the sky while the left arm points to the earth, the dervishes begin to move very slowly around themselves and around the center.

(source:  The Dervishes Dance — The Sacred Ritual of Love)

©2014 TH

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