Thursday, April 2, 2009

Whirling Dervishes

Last night we went to see the Sufi Dancers, better known as the Whirling Dervishes. It was probably the most amazing performance I have ever seen. The Sufi, a sect of Islam, believe that they are closest to Allah (God) when they are whirling. And man did they whirl!

The show was held in an old madrasa (school) - Wikala of Al-Ghouri, which is very close to the Khan El-Khalili. (The Khan is the ancient shopping area, but more on that in another post.) The show was free of charge and well worth the two hour wait. We were told to arrive early because the seats would fill up quickly. It was true – by the time the show began, both sides of the court yard were lined with people standing. We were the first ones there and were able to sit in the front row. I thought it would be mostly Western tourists, but the vast majority of the audience was Muslim. (With the head scarves it is easy to tell.)

The dancing was amazing! They danced and whirled for what seemed like ages. This guy (pictured above) spun around for 28 minutes and then stopped on a dime with no disorientation. If I spin for 45 seconds I can’t walk straight and he whirled for a half an hour!

The music was great too: drums, Middle Eastern horn things (look behind the dancers above,) and wonderful singing. Although, since it was in Arabic, Allah was the only word I understood.

If you ever get to Cairo you have to go see this - 8:30 pm on Wednesday and Saturday nights. I promise you won't be disappointed.

13 comments:

Rachel said...

I am so glad you are able to share your trip with us as you travel. It is so much more detailed than it would be if you gave a summary when you come home. This looks spectacular! Beautiful images, and a great experience!

Betts said...

Beautiful photographs. This is going to make my trip to Washington DC in a couple of weeks look pretty lame.

Shannon said...

not to mention the COLORS! WOW! How did you get such pretty shots? Wasn't it dark in there?

Molly said...

What Great photos! Beautiful colors!

Lisa @ Life with 4! said...

great shots, Liz! those costumes are amazing.
I am so very thankful that i don't have to spin to get closer to God. I have Jesus Christ!
Stay safe over there on the other side of the world!

c|ara said...

This reminds me of some pictures I recently saw of Turkish sufi dancers, who wear all white.

peaceliving said...

Wow, Liz! I haven't been online much and I see you've be BUSY! How exciting to get to visit Egypt. What an opportunity. I'm glad you took it, no matter the economy. Beautiful photos!

kawaii crafter said...

so that's what a whirling dervish looks like, I've always wondered. Looks and sounds like a great performance.

Manoute said...

It looks absolutely amazing. Thanks for sharing :o)

Frank said...

What a great shot of the dancer in green. He looks happy and very in the moment.

cinnamongirl93 said...

How cool is this?! What a beautiful scence you have described.
Thank you!

nicolette said...

Those colourful pictures are unbelievable!

Clare said...

Beautiful photos, interesting writing. What a fun trip. I have always used the term whirling dervish but never new what they looked like. Thank you.