The Whirling Dervishes of Turkey bring their mystical dance to Fairfield University's Quick Center for the Arts October 27


Watch a film on Dervish symbolism
Running time: approx. 12 min. (QuickTime required)

"When you enter the dance, you leave both worlds behind. The world of dance lies beyond heaven and earth." - Kulliyat (13685; SPL328)

Often trance-like in their meditative spinning, The Whirling Dervishes of Turkey perform this ancient religious ritual as a way of fulfilling their wish for a greater closeness with God. On Saturday, Oct. 27 at 8 p.m., Fairfield University's Regina A. Quick Center for the Arts presents The Dervishes, also known as the Mevlevi Order of Sufis, Islamic mystics, founded 800 years ago by the world-renowned philosopher and mystical poet Mevlâna Celâleddin-i Rumi (Mevlâna Jalal-al-Din Rumi).

An informational film that elucidates the Dervish symbolism comprising the dance will run in the lobby prior to the performance and at intermission. The film, which is also a podcast and available on the Quick Center's website, features world mysticism expert, Dr. Barbara Amodio who is an adjunct professor at University College.

The Universal Movement or Semâ, as the ceremony is known, was inspired by Rumi and was influenced by Turkish custom, history, beliefs and culture. It symbolizes in seven parts, the different meanings of a mystic cycle to perfection.

The ceremonial motion is based on the fact that all beings revolve. There are unconscious revolutions that dictate life - the composition of revolving electrons, protons and neutrons in atoms - and an intellectual consciousness that fosters intentional participation in the shared revolution of other beings. The distinction between the unconsciousness of nature and the consciousness of man is the key element in the goal of the ceremony's spiritual peak.

The Whirling Dervishes of Turkey Bring Their Mystical Dance to Fairfield University's Quick Center for the Arts October 27

This ancient ritual is characterized by the unity of three fundamental components of human nature: the mind (as knowledge and thought), the heart (through the expression of feelings, poetry and music) and the body (by activating life, by the turning). These three elements are thoroughly joined both in theory and in practice as perhaps in no other ritual or system of thought.

The haunting music that accompanies the stages represented by the dance is captivating. The drum roll is an audible emblem of the first primordial stirring of the awesome and formless God initiating motion and circulating rotation. The flute further articulates the Cosmic Stillness and replicates the Breath of Allah by which the world is created. This sound is still heard in nature and in the musical instruments used with elegant and minimalist focus by the Dervish.

Tickets are $40, $35 and $30 and are available online at www.quickcenter.com or by calling the Quick Center Box Office at (203) 254-4010. The toll free number is 1-877-ARTS-396. For further information, please visit the Quick Center website at www.quickcenter.com

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Media Contact: Joan Grant, (203) 254-4000, ext. 2950, jgrant@fairfield.edu

Posted on October 11, 2007

Vol. 40, No. 75