Istanbul Center hosted a special performance of the Whirling Dervishes of Rumi on February 11, 2009 at the Rialto Center for the Arts.
The Whirling Dervishes are followers of the 13th century poet, Islamic jurist, and theologian, Mawlana Jalal ad-Din Rumi, who lived in Konya, Turkey. He represents the mainstream Islamic philosophy driven by the Quran and the Prophet Mohammed. The Whirling Dervishes are known for their famous practice of whirling as a form of dhikr (remembrance of God). The rituals of the Whirling Dervishes are among the most enduring as well as the most exquisite ceremonies of spirituality. The ritual whirling of the dervishes is an act of love and a drama of faith. It possesses a highly structured form within which the gentle turns become increasingly dynamic as the individual dervishes strive to achieve a state of trance. The music that accompanies the whirling from the beginning to the end ranges from somber to rhapsodical; its effect is intended to be mesmerizing. Chanting of poetry, rhythmic rotation, and incessant music create a synthesis which, according to the faithful, induces a feeling of soaring, of ecstasy, of mystical flight.