Saturday, February 10, 2007
Lexington [Kentucky, U.S.A.] will be the site of one of seven American performances by the Whirling Dervishes of Rumi, from Turkey.
Their Feb. 12 visit will give the public a rare chance to watch a spiritual ritual that is seven centuries old.
Part of the large Sufi branch of Islam, the twirling comes from the teachings of Rumi, a 13th-century Muslim mystic and poet and represents harmony with nature and celebration of God's creation.
The audience will see a performance with costumes, live music (flute, percussion, string), and the dervishes, also called semazen, whirling in perfect harmony. The ceremony focuses on three parts of human nature -- the heart, mind, and body. Each stage of the ritual has its own meaning and distinct music.
The group's performance is sponsored locally by Interfaith Dialogue Organization, or IDO, a student organization at the University of Kentucky which promotes understanding of the world's religions.
The Istanbul Center for Culture and Dialogue in Atlanta arranged the tour to honor the 800th birthday of Sufi master Rumi.
Members of the ICC asked the IDO group if they would be willing to host a performance in Lexington. The local group sees the performance as a way to promote tolerance and understanding of the world's different religions.
"Bringing in groups like the Whirling Dervishes helps celebrate the common ties which bind individuals as brothers and sisters from all around the world at the University of Kentucky," said IDO President Mehmet Saracoglu, a UK graduate student.
The group will perform at 7:30 on Monday at UK's Singletary Center for the Fine Arts. Tickets, $15-$30, are available at the Singletary box office, by calling (859) 257-4929 or by going to
[picture: "Mevlevi dervishes whirling in Pera", oil painting by Jean-Baptiste van Mour, d.1737]