Accepted Paper:

Through intimate dizziness to ecstatic intimacy: participating in the sonic and kinetic spaces of the Sufi whirling and music practices  
Polina Tšerkassova

Paper short abstract:

By focusing on the collaborative intimacy evoked during a Sufi whirling practice, this paper questions the common understandings of body and movement, and focuses on the intimate relationbetween musicians, dancers, observers, movement, sound, and breath.

Paper long abstract:

The paper is based on ongoing fieldwork on the practice of whirling and making music with a group of Sufis in Istanbul. This paper focuses on a collaborative space of ecstatic intimacy invoked during the practice of playing music, dancing and rhythmical breathing at a Sufi whirling ceremony. The paper is aimed at rethinking the collaborative relationality between musicians, dancers and observers by quesitoning the common idea of these three as being merely constitutive components of a practice. It rather argues for seeing them as a single intentionality of a shared ecstatic state of consciousness, which blurs the borders separating a person's body from the world. Such ecstatic intimacity possesses of a mutual transformational faculty for its practitioners.

By concentrating on the state of being in sound and in movement, it challenges common understandings of body as a solid object and of movement as a purely kinetic motion, and rather conjures the idea of stillness and a pivot within the moving world. Finally, the paper focuses on how my involvement with these practices, the physical experience related to the states of dizziness, and my intuitive search for a fulcrum, suggest a process of collaborative creation of a shared improvisational space of ecstatic intimacy.

Panel P035
Collaborative intimacies in music and dance: anthropologies in/of sound and movement