Few important events took place in Slovakia recently.  Following SISUMMA´S training programme on European citizenship, minorities and multicultural coexistence OSF-Slovakia organized a workshop on traditional sufi dance, an amaizing performance called Dervish and an international conference on Muslim identities in Europe.

As stated by Andrea Bila, OSF-Slovakia Programme Manager: “according to our experience, art and culture are a great means of tearing down barriers”.

“By bringing this cultural event to a wide public, we wanted to use this opportunity to raise awareness about cultural and religious diversity. We targeted a different type of audience – the one that is not normally interested in topics like discrimination and prejudice and would not attend a conference. People from all walks of life attended the event.”

Ziya Azazi was born in Antakya, Turkey. He created his first choreographic works in the State Theatre of Istanbul in the early 90’s. He started to explore the traditional dance of the Sufis in 1999. Continuing his interest in the traditional dances, he integrated his knowledge of experimentality and repetition that he acquired through these dances with his own artistic and emotional orientation.

Azazi has been influenced by Sufism, an existential philosophy, while shaping his own individuality and dance. There lies mysticism in the core of Sufism, which explores the reason for creation of man and the universe he lives in. According to this philosophy, which studies the causality of existence, man is an entity that needs to mature and be enlightened. “Dervish,” at heart, harbors the journey of this entity.

There are 4 doors in Sufism: the Law, the Path, Realization, and Discernment. The door of the Law is the first and the lowest step of the journey. At the door of the Path, the thought of becoming a pure entity ripens by practice and repetition. The door of Realization is the rank where one reaches the reality without any means and conveys knowledge onto others.

“Dervish” is composed of two performances, the first of which is “Azab”, and the second “Dervish in Progress”.