ISSN: 20517068
First published in 2014
3 issues per volume
Volume 3 Issue 3
Cover Date: September 2016
A work of two registers: Mukabele, private and public
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Authors:  Mark James Hamilton 
DOI: 10.1386/dmas.3.3.263_1

Keywords
Mevlevi sema,mukabele,whirling dervish,Jerzy Grotowski,autoethnography,P. D. Ouspensky

Abstract
The Mevlevi sema, usually described as the dance of the whirling dervishes, can be understood to be both a private transformational passage and a public performance with theatrical dimensions. The exceptional commitment and effort that it requires evolves a participant’s deep focus towards one’s interior. At the same time, the commitment to welcoming guests as witnesses to the ceremony ensures that the practice remains connected to the wider world. What is created through the balance of these two dimensions? What is made possible by the ceremony’s dynamic relationship, in which the participants’ immersion in personal transformation contributes towards an aesthetic composition for onlookers? I explore these questions with reference to the propositions of Jerzy Grotowski, whose transcultural vision seeded my three decades of embodied practice as research and my arrival at participation in the Mevlevi sema in London.
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