See Turkey’s whirling dervishes perform a traditional ‘sema’ Mevlevi dance ceremony before dinner at the iconic Hodjapasha Dance Theater in Istanbul! The centuries-old ceremony is a spiritual performance featuring graceful choreography, Persian chanting and traditional Turkish music, played by the on-site orchestra. Enjoy a drink and some Turkish delight from the bar, and then sit captivated as the dervishes glide around the stage in their eye-catching robes; it’s the perfect evening out for a taste of age-old Istanbul culture.
Head inside Hodjapasha Dance Theater in the Sirkeci neighborhood of Istanbul, and enjoy a drink and some Turkish delight from the bar. The building itself dates back to the 15th century, when it was once home to Turkish baths, and is well known in the city as one of the top places to see traditional Turkish dances and ceremonies.
After enjoying your beverage, take a seat in the main hall to watch your 1 hour show, consisting of a 15-minutes Turkish classical music concert followed by a 45-minutes Mevlevi sema dance. Performed by a troupe of semazens (or whirling dervishes), the entrancing ceremonial dance is believed to date back as far as 800 years – a fact that helped the dance land a spot on UNESCO’s Intangible World Heritage List.
Watch as the whirling dervishes glide around the stage in a flurry of movement, dancing in time to Persian and traditional Turkish music played by the theater’s orchestra. The flute, kettledrum and cymbal music is accompanied by songs and the chanting of ancient Persian poems and prayers.
The full performance lasts roughly 1 hour, and when the dancing finishes you can stay inside the venue to enjoy more drinks, if you wish. All additional food and drinks are at your own expense.