the Clown Conservatory Dance Blog

Whirling Dervishes by Zaccho Dance Theatre
February 15, 2008, 12:34 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized


The Mevlevi, or “The Whirling Dervishes”, believe in performing their dhikr in the form of a “dance” and music ceremony called the sema.

The Sema represents a mystical journey of man’s spiritual ascent through mind and love to “Perfect.” Turning towards the truth, the follower grows through love, deserts his ego, finds the truth and arrives at the “Perfect.” He then returns from this spiritual journey as a man who has reached maturity and a greater perfection, so as to love and to be of service to the whole of creation.

The sema was practiced in the semahane (ritual hall) according to a precisely prescribed symbolic ritual with the dervished whirling in a circle around their sheikh, who is the only one circling around his axis. The dervishes wear a white gown (symbol of death), a wide black cloak (hirka) (symbol of the grave) and a high brown cap (kûlah), symbol of the tombstone. (read more)


3 Comments so far
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It’s interesting to see their costumes whirl at the same speed as their bodies. Their whole body, costume and all, moves as one piece. Almost like a toy ballerina in a jewel box, but REAL!

Comment by Calvin

Does anyone (especially you Joanna, I guess) why their clothing represents death?? That is an interesting concept to me.

Comment by Larena

There’s not a lot of room for variation in this dance. The costumes and neutral facial expressions make me think the dancers are sort of anonymous. It’s more aesthetic than personality.

Comment by laura

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