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Wednesday, May 18, 2005
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Whirling Dervishes of Turkey to perform during International Week

ATHENS, Ohio (May 18, 2005) -- The Whirling Dervishes of Konya, Turkey, will perform their religious ritual on Friday, May 20, at Templeton Blackburn Alumni Memorial Auditorium as part of International Week. The event begins at 7:30 p.m. and tickets are $5 for general admission and $3 for students and seniors.

The Order of the Whirling Dervishes is one branch of the Sufi tradition of Islam. Sufism uses a thorough interpretation of Islam focusing on the use of love, tolerance, worship of God, community and personal development to reach maturity, perfection and Allah.

Their ritual dance, the Sema, symbolizes these values and is performed by the group all around the world. It consists of four selams, or musical movements, that each have a distinctive rhythm and represent important aspects of the Sufi religion. The whirling allows the dervishes to relinquish the earthly life to be reborn in mystical union with God and is emphasized by the long, white robes and full skirts they wear during the performance. The ritual is concluded with a prayer for the peace of the souls of all Prophets and believers.

Due to the spirituality associated with the Sema, the Dervishes request that applause be saved until the show is over and they have left the stage, where they retire to their rooms for silent meditation and further remembrance of God.

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Media Contact: Krista McCallum-Beatty, (740) 593-4330 or mccallum@ohio.edu

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