Life's a Dance

Article by: Chip Conley|@ChipConley

Wed December 12, 2012 | 00:00 AM

One of the treats of visiting the festival is each night before the show (there are shows in the afternoon and the evening each of the ten days of the festival) a Rumi scholar would speak and answer questions. What was remarkable was the fact that these sessions were all in English when, in fact, virtually the whole crowd doesn’t speak English as it’s first language.

We were fortunate to listen to Dr. Tarik Quadir from Mevlana University talk about the relevance of Rumi today. At one point, he suggested that “life is just one big dance…that’s why people in the west off say they feel like a whirling dervish, although they don’t often say that with a positive connotation.” Turning and whirling are foundational in life. Everything turns: protons and electrons, the earth and the moon, the weather and our emotions. Dr. Quadir suggests it’s when we try to stop turning that we get dizzy. It’s when we try to take power away from the natural turning of events that we feel powerless. Whirling is a way to stay centered while moving. It’s getting in tune with the moving earth.

And, of course, what’s a dance without a full orchestra. One other big advantage of going to the festival (as opposed to seeing a smaller Whirling Dervish ceremony) is you get to experience the full size of the band. With the melodic ney taksim (reed flute), the kudum (drum), the rebab (string instrument), and a variety of other percussion instruments, the band’s worth the price of admission alone.