More than a decade back, Ziya Azazi, who only performed Contemporary dance that time, began to study the traditional dance of the Sufis, which mainly comprised whirling dervishes. Finding his inclination towards this form of dance, the accomplished choreographer merged his likings and began performing his modern choreographies mixing the whirling rituals of Sufi dervishes and Contemporary dance — something that he will showcase in the city on November 14.
“The show is about physical feats meeting mysticism; East meeting West and the past meeting the present,” says Azazi, who also informed that the performance will be in two parts.
Talking about his love for the dance form he performs, Azazi explains that while he was doing other things, he always had this urge to go back to his roots in one way or the other, “I always wanted to understand my roots, heritage and tradition. Hence, I adapted it in a way that I can bring history and present together without being dogmatic.”
Azazi, who is looking forward to more shows in Spain and Italy after the performance in the city, was born in the south of Turkey, in Antakya, and then moved to Istanbul for his education. While studying engineering at Istanbul Technical University (ITÜ), Azazi was introduced to gymnastics, which laid the foundation of his career in Contemporary dance. Working with the Istanbul City Theater from 1990 to 1994 as a dancer and choreographer, Azazi went to Vienna in 1994 and worked with various dance companies until 1999, when he began to research Sufi whirling and incorporating elements of the Sufi ritual into his choreographies.
Some of his dance solos in the past include, Work in Progress I , Work in Progress II and Ember, among others. In collaboration with French musician Serge Adam, Azazi also developed Icons, which premiered in Grenoble, France in November 2007.