Whirling Dervishes and Tanoura Dancers

Meditation and Entertainment 

The original Whirling Dervish dance was – and is – a dance mediation. However, the whirling dance has long been adapted for entertainment as well, with the performers using multicolored, multilayered, skirts that are manipulated to create optical illusions rather than spiritual enlightenment.

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The whirling dance performed for entertainment is called TANOURA. It evolved from the dance meditation that migrated to Egypt with the Sufi Almoez Ledun Ellah Alfatime. Theatrical versions of the Sufi dance began to appear in Egypt in the late 19th century. The best dancers use more than one skirt, separating and combining them while twirling for hypnotic optical illusions.

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While a tanoura dancer whirls, s/he may play large sagat (TOURA) or a frame drum.

Mohamed Shahin: Whirling dervish, or ‘raqis tanoura’ in Arabic (literally translated as ‘skirt dance’) is the traditional dance of the Sufis, and has its origins in the Turkish Ottoman Empire. It started as an alternative form of worship within Islam, and is performed as a way of inducing an intense personal communion with the divine, of inducing ecstasy.

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Sufi practitioners of the dance wear long white kaftans, fez-like hats, and a heavy white skirt traditionally made of wool, in which they spin for hours around a fixed imaginary point. With his circular motion and accompanying hand gestures, the Sufi dancer engages in a sort of physical prayer, whereby he emits a huge bout of energy to the heavens. Sufi dancing is usually done in groups, with one man in the middle whirling, while the other practitioners dance around him in a circle. It is as if the dervish were the sun, and the dancers revolving around him, the stars.

The Egyptian tanoura dance is similar to the one practiced in Turkey in all but dress. Primarily performed for theatrical rather than spiritual reasons, Egyptian dervishes wear ornate and colorful skirts and incorporate the use of accessories to demonstrate the difficulty of the dance and the dancer’s skill.

From article written by Maura Enright, BABA YAGA Newsletter 

See A Live Tanoura Performance By Mohamed Shahin Here

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The 13th-century Sufi poet Jalaluddin Rumi (Mevlâna) is all but considered a saint. One of the world’s great mystic philosophers, his poetry and religious writings are among the most beloved and respected in Islam and well beyond.

In a time of increasing tension in the region the festival is a beacon of hope for culture and freedom. Rumi was a scholar, who taught peace, love and tolerance, and eventually gained a large following.

Only a few hundred miles from the borders of war-torn Syria, the festival in the Anatolian city of Konya brings together over a million people from all over the world to celebrate Rumi’s work, his life and ultimately his death – also known as his union with god. The day of his death is referred to as his wedding night.

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Whirling dervishes at the Rumi Festival in Konya.

Since the death of Jalaluddin Rumi in 1273, the Mevlevi order has commemorated his life. Kashfi Halford captures the celebrations and performances all over the Turkish city during the 10-day festival.

Sema is the inspiration of Rumi as well as a part of Turkish custom, history, beliefs and culture. The Sema ceremony represents a mystical journey of man’s spiritual ascent through mind and love to perfection.

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Article and photos by Kashfi Halford and Matt Fidler, The Guardian

 

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World Connect Morocco Celebration

Zohar Productions was proud to be a part of World Connect’s Morocco Benefit Dinner. The event benefited women and children in the developing areas of Morocco.

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The event featured authentic Moroccan dancers and musicians, a spice market, a rosewater perfume greeting, Moroccan mint tea service, a traditional waterman, henna, and a keynote speech given by Richard Gere.

The event was held inside the Liberty Warehouse, located in Brooklyn, New York, right across from the Statue of Liberty.  Guests arrived at the venue via water taxi, where a Moroccan band and dancers were waiting to meet and greet them.

The event was a huge success for Zohar productions and World Connect. Guests were enchanted by the elaborate decor and authentic Moroccan experiences. Take a look at some of the fabulous photos from the event below!

Be sure to check our Facebook for updates!

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A Moroccan Midsummer Night’s Dream Part III

Part III: MoRock ‘N’ Roll the Night Away

 This is the third part of a three-part series offering inspiration and helpful tips for hosting a Moroccan Midsummer Night’s Dream event.

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Belly Dancers and Moroccan Musicians

 Entertaining Your Guests

 If you are hosting a Moroccan Midsummer Night’s Dream party, entertainment should be an important part of the event. Belly dancers accompanied by musicians are some of the most popular forms of entertainment at Moroccan themed events and will truly amaze guests. For a sneak peak at exciting performances, view our Moroccan entertainment video on YouTube.

 Dancing with fire is another type of Moroccan dance and entertainment that will undoubtedly impress your party guests. Fire dancers truly bring that ‘wow factor’ to every event.

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Hookah Lounge

 A hookah is a single or multi-hosed water pipe for vaporizing and/or smoking flavored tobacco called Shisha (Shisha is available with or without nicotine in it). The smoke is passed through the water basin before inhalation. Hookah tents and lounges at parties are a very popular way to guarantee a unique and exotic party.

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For information on how to prepare a Hookah, you can view a how-to video on YouTube.

Invite Snake Charmers

A sure way to attract the attention of the crowd is by introducing a snake charmer at your event. Snake charmers are intriguing Moroccan entertainers who spark interest and enthusiasm at every event. These performers only work with friendly, non-venomous snakes that are used to being handled at parties. To learn more about having snakes or other animals at your party, read Zohar Productions’ blog on hiring exotic animals for your special event.

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Snake charmers provide a wonderful photo opportunity for party guests.

Read all the articles in our three-part series guide to hosting a Moroccan Midsummer Night’s Dream party, so that planning your next event will be a breeze. Enjoy your themed party and MoRock ‘N’ Roll the Night Away!

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Filed under Arabian Nights Entertainment, Belly Dancing, Hookah, Party Planning

A Moroccan Midsummer Night’s Dream Part II

Zohar Productions, A Nationally Acclaimed Event Planning Company, Shares
Their Expertise on
How to Plan Your Own Moroccan or Arabian Nights
Themed Party This Summer.
This is part two in a three-part series. 

Part II: Simply Savory Party Delights 

Your guests will be eager to try unique party dishes of Moroccan Cuisine.
After all, what’s a party without spice?

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A Traditional Dish

A popular Moroccan dish, known as Couscous, is a traditional Berber dish made of semolina. Today, couscous is usually served with meat and vegetable stew, but can also be eaten alone. On House and Garden’s website, you can find fourteen unique couscous recipes to prepare for your Moroccan Midsummer Night’s event.

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Let’s Get Cookin’

Featured below is a simple yet flavorful dish from Food and Wine Recipes that is perfect to serve at any summer get-together.

Moroccan Chicken and Potato Salad with Olives

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  • ACTIVE:10 MIN
  • TOTAL TIME:35 MIN
  • SERVINGS:4

A savory lemon dressing with cumin, paprika, ginger, and oregano gives this salad an exotic flavor.

  1. 1 1/2 pounds boiling potatoes (about 5)
  2. 1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice
  3. 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  4. 1 teaspoon paprika
  5. 1 teaspoon salt
  6. Fresh-ground black pepper
  7. 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  8. 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
  9. 7 tablespoons olive oil
  10. 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 3)
  11. 1/2 red onion, chopped fine
  12. 1/3 cup black olives, such as Kalamata, halved and pitted
  13. 1/2 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
  1. Put the potatoes in a medium saucepan with salted water to cover and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and cook at a gentle boil until tender, about 25 minutes. Drain the potatoes. When they are cool enough to handle, peel the potatoes and cut into 1/4-inch slices.
  2. Meanwhile, in a small glass or stainless-steel bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, cumin, paprika, 3/4 teaspoon of the salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper, the ginger, and the oregano. Whisk in 6 tablespoons of the oil.
  3. Heat a grill pan or a heavy frying pan over moderate heat. For the grill pan, coat the chicken with the remaining 1 tablespoon oil; sprinkle with the remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon pepper. Cook the chicken for 5 minutes. Turn and cook until browned and just done, about 4 minutes longer. Remove, and when cool enough to handle, cut the chicken into small pieces.
  4. In a large bowl, combine the warm potatoes with half of the dressing. Add the chicken, onion, olives, parsley, and the remaining dressing and toss.

Next up: Finally, in part three, view unique performance acts that will inspire and guide your entertainment plans for your Moroccan Midsummer Night’s Dream party.

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A Moroccan Midsummer Night’s Dream Part I

Zohar Productions, A Nationally Acclaimed Event Planning Company,
Shares Their Expertise on How to Plan Your Own Moroccan or Arabian Nights
Themed Party This Summer.
This is part one in a three-part series.

Part I: Setting the Scene

Hosting a summer barbecue or pool party is fun for us all; however, coming up with an exciting theme party idea will surprise and delight your guests. Choosing an unusual theme, such as a Moroccan Midsummer Night’s Dream, is a refreshing change from your typical summer affair, and the first step to planning your Moroccan-themed event is to set the scene.

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 Important Elements to Consider When Setting the Scene

Location and décor are the two most important elements to consider when setting the scene for your Moroccan event. Once you have decided upon the ideal location for your party, such as a hotel, restaurant, or even your own home, transforming this venue with décor can be a trying task. Thankfully, do-it-yourself décor is a simple and inexpensive decorating option that will set the theme for your Moroccan Midsummer Night’s party.

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Create a Moroccan Vibe with Themed Décor

 Incorporating leather poufs and low couches for seating will create a truly Moroccan vibe at your event. Some of the best ways to decorate for a Moroccan Midsummer Night’s Dream theme include: bringing in bright and colorful pillows, adding low tables covered with Moroccan linens and floral or lantern centerpieces, draping the ceiling and walls, and hanging lanterns.

Embellishing on-hand furniture, such as setting out brass trays on low tables, is a budget-wise and resourceful way to introduce Moroccan décor at your venue. For even more Moroccan decorating tips check out a Moroccan Decor Pinterest Board.

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Next up: Part two of the three-part series will leave your mouth watering after reading the recipes and viewing the pictures of delicious Moroccan cuisine. In part three, prepare to be entertained by Arabian-style performances that could be featured at your Moroccan Midsummer Night’s Dream party.

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A Women’s Guide to Moroccan Fashion

TRADITIONAL MOROCCAN ATTIRE

Ideas and Fashion Inspiration for a Moroccan-themed Party

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Moroccan fashion has become increasingly modernized in recent years, yet Moroccan women today continue to wear three classic Moroccan gowns known as djellabas, caftans, and takchitas. These three unique dresses are diverse in the materials they are made of and their styles. However, all of the different gowns reflect the traditional style of Moroccan garments.

A djellaba is an outfit that can be worn around the town or at home on days when there are no formal occasions. Djellabas are long-sleeved, unisex gowns, which have a head cover or hood. Typically, these gowns are made from cotton or wool.
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For special celebrations such as weddings, women wear caftans (sometimes spelled kaftans) or takchitas.

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Caftans have been worn by Moroccans since the era of the Sultans. Despite the older style of caftans, they remain the most popular choice for modern brides selecting their Moroccan wedding dresses. Bridal caftans are colorful and typically made of silk. Often, they are elaborately detailed with intricate, floral designs.

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Unlike caftans, Moroccan takchitas have two layers. The first layer, called Tahtiya, is a long and basic garment with no design. Whereas the second layer or over-dress, called the Fouqia or Dfina, has a more elaborate design. This second layer is usually a caftan with beautiful embroidery and beading that buttons up the front of the gown with traditional sfifa and akaad closures. These tiny corded ball buttons and loops are distinguishing features of all Moroccan gowns.

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In contrast to caftans, which are typically worn loosely, Moroccan takchitas are tightly cinched with a belt known as an Mdamma that is made of silk, gold, or silver, and ornamented with jewels.

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Present-day Moroccan fashion is truly a blend of traditional Moroccan outfits, current trends, and modern style requirements. Designers have begun to adapt the styles of Moroccan attire by creating sleek outfits with lightweight fabrics, while preserving the traditional Moroccan designs. Although the younger generation has embraced this modernization of Moroccan dresses, traditional gowns are still extremely common and popular in Morocco.

Call 800-658-0258 or

email info@zoharproductions.com  for more information.

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Zaffa Wedding Procession

Marriage ceremonies in the Middle East are changing and taking on more Western traditions, but there are still many popular Middle Eastern traditions incorporated into weddings today. An important tradition, the Zaffa, is practiced throughout the Middle East and is one of the principal moments in the wedding celebration.

The Zaffa or “wedding march” announces that the wedding celebration is about to begin, much like how the wedding party walking down the aisle signals that the wedding is about to begin in Western culture.

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The Zaffa wedding march is extremely loud as the procession is filled with men playing bendir drums, mizmars, bagpipes and horns. Onlookers at a Zaffa may be surprised to see bagpipes in the march; however, but bagpipes originated in Egypt around 800 B.C.E.  Guests also add to the noise by making trills of joy (ululations), called zaghareets which are common in Middle Eastern celebrations, especially weddings.

What makes the Zaffa procession even more unique to the Middle Eastern culture are the Shamadan dancers who also join in the march. Shamadan dancers are belly dancers who balance candelabras on top of their heads as they dance.

No matter what the mixture between Western and Middle Eastern traditions is in weddings today, the Zaffa procession will continue to be the most memorable one marking not only the start of the wedding, but also the start of the bride and groom’s life together.

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For more information on providing entertainment and decor for your wedding, contact Zohar Productions at 800-658-0258 or visit www.zoharproductions.com.

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August 10, 2013 · 6:42 am