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.