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The Whirling Dervish

The Tanoura is a folkloric dance which was developed from the Sufi dance in Turkey. The word Tanoura means skirt in English & the dancer wears a large circular multicoloured skirt.

The dance tells a story that connects the relationship of land and the sky, man and God. The performer spins around and appears to enter a trance like state. He does this for around 30 minutes then stops without showing any signs of dizziness.

When the tanoura dancer moves he is like the sun and the dancers around him are like the planets. The dancer removes four different skirts throughout the performance. The skirts symbolise the succession of the four seasons and their anti-clockwise movement is exactly like the movement around the “Kaaba” (the holy Shrine in Mecca) When the dancer raises his right arm up and points his left arm down, this represents the joining of earth and heaven together.

You will see men performing the Tanoura on many nights out whilst in Egypt. It truly is an amazing sight.