The tradition of dervishes is not just a very famous dance but it is also a very important element of Turkish culture.
Since 13th century mystic, poet and philosopher Mevlana C. Rumi established a new way of art and thought, Dervishes of Turkey have enriched the music, literature, dance and belief of Ottoman geography without the discrimination of race, religion or nation. That is why to see dervishes is not just to experience a performance or concert; it is also an introduction to discover the peaceful and rich philosophy of Rumi and his followers which has also been marked on the list of Intangible World Heritage of UNESCO.
Sufi whirling is a form of physically active meditation which originated among Sufis, and which is still practiced by the Sufi Dervishes of the Mevlevi order. It is a customary dance performed within the Sema, or worship ceremony, through which dervishes aim to reach the source of all perfection or "kemal". This is sought through abandoning one's nafs, egos or personal desires, by listening to the music, focusing on God, and spinning one's body in repetitive circles, which has been seen as a symbolic imitation of planets in the Solar System orbiting the sun as explained by Sufis.
Sufi whirling is one of the most ancient techniques. It is so deep that even a single experience can make you totally different. Whirl with open eyes, just like small children go on twirling, as if your inner being has become a center and your whole body has become a wheel, moving, a potter’s wheel, moving. You are in the center, but the whole body is moving." It is good not to eat or drink for a few hours before whirling. It is best to have bare feet and loose clothing.
The Dervish dancing is very deep: in it, the dancer's body spins so fast and with such totality that every cell and fiber of his body vibrates. This breaks the relationship between the body and the consciousness, and suddenly the dancer realizes that he is separate from his body.