Ziya Azazi


Dervish In ProgressIMG_8615
This Workshop suggests a space for the participants where they can challenge their limits through whirling, stimulate their ability for the thrift of bodily energy, and through these abilities reach their goal movement within their own genre, spending less energy, with a higher level of awareness.

Whirling is not the main objective of this workshop. The greater goal is to improve one’s physical, emotional and mental awareness through whirling and the exercises prior to that. It leads the participants to perceive and accept what is befalling throughout whirling, and reach an innovative movement by means of whirling.

IMG_8958The Workshop consists of the following steps:
Warm up: stretching and breathing in order to enhance concentration preparing the body and mind to gain strength to push mental and physical limits.

Awareness: This step includes floor work, body part and upside down exercises, basic acrobatics and improvisation on various levels. It aims to strengthen the awareness of senses and systems in preparation for meeting the unknown arrangements to be encountered while whirling.

Whirling: Further developments of physical, emotional and mental awareness are to be obtained in this step. Whirling first starts at the vertical level. At the further steps repetitive movements are to be experienced on both, vertical and horizontal levels. This step helps the participants to feel and record the conditions of their perception of space and body; thus the awareness improves. This is a step where the participants in various aspects confront conditions that are not usual or accustomed. By accepting the unknown, the knowledge concerning awareness and ability for the thrift of bodily energy will expand.


Monday – Thursday, September 28 – October 1
4:30 – 6pm each day
Troy Studio, Lang Performing Arts Center

Sunday, October 4
1 – 5pm
Troy Studio, Lang Performing Arts Center

at Mascher Space Co-Op
Monday – Friday, September 28 – October 2
10am – noon each day
see website for Mascher pricing
Saturday, October 3
1 – 5pm

“Interview: Dervish in Progress, Ziya Azazi” by Katsuri Gadge (Buzz Bureau)


Ziya Azazi was born in 1969 in Antakya, Turkey. Since 1994 he has been based in Vienna, Austria.  He holds Austrian nationality and speaks Arabic, English, German and Turkish.  From the late nineties up to the present, Ziya Azazi’s dance practices have been primarily based on experimental whirling and repetition, which reflect his personal, artistic, conceptual and motional analysis of traditional Sufi dance. He searches for the simultaneous representation of contradictory perceptions of physical awareness and a high state of ecstasy, experimenting the intensities of speed and tension made possible through whirling. He aims at transforming the usual whirling dervish image and the classical Sufi dance into a spectacular form, thus proposing possibilities for personal ritual, that do not rely on the boundaries of existing belief systems. His work searches for the Dervish at a high level of speed, tension and emotion, and creates a space for the viewer to encounter and experience these moods. Through his performances, Ziya Azazi seeks to represent the moment of realisation when the Dervish begins to enjoy his/her achievement through the joyful and ecstatic repetition of whirling: the looping and spinning which leads to trance.

 Between 1986-1991 he studied mining engineering at Istanbul Technical University. During the university years he studied gymnastics. From 1990 till 1994 worked with the State Theatre of Istanbul where he created his first choreographic works. Between 1994 and 1998 he worked at Tanz Atelier Sebastian Prantl (TAW), Tanz Hotel, and Willi Dorner besides few other companies. In 1999 he was awarded a scholarship by Summer Dance Week Vienna (Dance Web), including an honorable mention by the Ballet International Magazine as “The Most Outstanding Dancer of the Year in Austria” with his full-program performance Unterwegs Tabula Rasa. Between 2000 and 2002 he had engagements with Vienna Volksoper, Austria; Theaterhaus Stuttgart, Germany; and the Grand Théâtre de Genéve.

The festivals at which he has performed include Bregenzer Festspiele, Bregenz; Festival d’ Aix-en-Provence, Oriente
Occidente Festival, Rovereto; Fadjr International Theatre Festival, Tehran; Mimi Festival, Marseille; Impulstanz Festival, Vienna; Festival de Solos y Duetos, Caracas; KIT, Copenhagen; Polyzentral, Hamburg; I-DANS Solists, Istanbul; Les Eclats Choreographiques, Niort; Biennale de la Danse, Paris; International Baltic Ballet Festival (opening performance), Riga; SPAF, Seoul; CanAsian, Toronto; Fes Sacred Music Festival, Fes; Delhi International Arts Festival, Delhi.

Selected Open-Air Festivals: Dias de Danza, Barcelona; Sziget Festival, Budapest; Châlon dans la Rue, Chalon; Theater op de Markt, Hasselt; X-trax, Manchester; TAC, Valladolid. Festival Internacional de Teatro, Manizales. Among other significant contemporary art spaces, he performed at Troppentheater, Amsterdam; Golden Orange Film Festival, Antalya; Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin; SECS (Sao Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Ceará, Paraná), Brazil; La Monnaie, Brussels; Grand Théâtre de Genève, Geneva; Museum of Modern Art, Houston; St. Irene Church, Istanbul; National Library, Barbican Centre, Trafalgar Square, Paralympic Opening Ceremony, Olympic Stadium, London; Colony Theater, Miami; Opera de Nice, Nice; Théâtre du Châtelet, Maison de la Culture du Japon, Centre National de la Danse, Paris; Centre Chorégraphique National, Roubaix; St. Pölten Festspielhaus, St. Pölten; National Museum, Singapore; Volskoper, Vienna; Kennedy Center, Washington DC.

He performed at the presence of royal family members of the Denmark, Morocco, Netherlands, United Kingdom and Thailand. As well as in numerous European countries he has performed in Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Ecuador, Egypt, India, Iran, Israel, Jordan, Korea, Lebanon, Morocco, North Cyprus, Palestine, Russia, Singapore, South Africa, Thailand, Tunisia, Turkey, USA and Venezuela, Zimbabwe.

Beside the performances Ziya Azazi shared his experiences and knowledge with public in academic and non- academic settings. He has given workshops in following cities: Vienna (A); Sao Paolo (BR); Toronto (CAN); St. Gallen (CH); Bogotá (COL); Berlin, Düsseldorf, Hamburg (D); Quito (ECU); Cairo (EG); Arles, Avignon, Brives la Gaillard, Clermont Ferrand, Dunkerque, Le Creusot, Roubaix, Paris, Toulon (FR); Beirut (LB); Klaipeda (LT); Amsterdam, Utrecht (NL); Mondovi, Venice, Manresa, Nice (I); Portimao (PT); Cape Town (SA), Sinop, Istanbul (TR); Caracas, Cumana (VEN) and Harare (ZIM).