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Tanoura Dervish Show – Sufi Dance

Deluxe Tours Egypt > Blog > Tanoura Dervish Show – Sufi Dance

The Sufi dance is a dance closely related to the rotating movement of the planets and the connection with God. What they do, the dancers of this dance, called dervishes , is to link one turn after another in a spectacular dance that is most popular in Cairo (Egypt) and is responsible for combining folklore and mysticism. This dance has a Turkish origin, better known as the “tanoura”, which means skirt and refers to the clothes worn by the dervishes.

An adaptation in the Egyptian style

The Egyptians liked this Turkish dance, but they wanted to make it a more cheerful and complex dance. The Turks wear a chilaba and a lighter skirt, and the Egyptians wear three skirts, one double and one simple. The set of fabrics can weigh thirteen kilos.

In the Sufi dance it turns on its own axis and with that movement, what happens is that the dancers themselves alternate states of consciousness and mystical ecstasy .

In the Turkish Sufi dance the dancers are placed forming a crescent and a star – the symbol of Islam -, in the Egyptian version the universe is represented. All this change, if we compare it with Turkish dance, is because for the Egyptians, the twists of the universe are prayers that want to reach God, which is represented with the dancers, who have to turn so that their prayers reach God.

The skirt is the spirit

The skirt is the main elements of this tradition. There is a theory about the importance it has, symbolizing the bad things that the human being must get rid of, so in the show of the dervishes we see how the different “tanuras” of colors are removed one by one .

In Cairo, the performance has three parts, starting with the “musical tahmila”, in which the performers demonstrate their ability with rababa, mizmar and sagat (similar to our castanets), among other traditional instruments.

Tanura sufi dancing Ghoria
These Whirling Dervishes believe in performing their dhikr (an Islamic devotional act in which prayers are repeatedly recited within the mind or aloud) in the form of a dance which involves whirling.
This dance represents a mystical journey of man’s spiritual ascent through mind and love to the “Perfect”. Turning, the follower grows through love, deserts his ego, and finds truth. He then returns from this spiritual journey as a man who has reached maturity and a greater perfection, able to love and to be of service to the whole of creation.


Sufi Dance in Cairo, Tanura, Al Tanura

Once the musical solos are produced, the moment comes when the dancers enter with their heavy colored skirts representing with their dance the solar system and giving way to a more modern dance where all are protagonists of this show.

After such a twist, in the midst of the trance in which the dervishes enter, comes my mystical climax where outside the folklore, they come into contact with God with their prayers.


Not only the pyramids, the desert landscape or the Coptic monuments, represent the point of attraction of Egypt, but also its rich folk tradition, which the tourist can now enjoy through the Dervishes of Cairo .

This group presents the so-called Sufi dance , also known as Tannoura, a spiritual current originating from Persia, before the Christian era, which was later integrated into Islam and which consists in turning on the body itself, facilitating altered states of consciousness and Mystical ecstasy. According to beliefs, spinning allows you to overcome death and darkness, get in touch with the principles of life or rise as stars around God.

The dervishes of Cairo were born in 2001, and are made up of around forty members, including dancers, musicians and singers. His work is done under the firm El Nour producciones , a company run by Ahmed Nour . Today, dervishes are considered the best Sufi dance group worldwide and have participated in various international competitions.

In 2005, due to the interest that this dance aroused in most people, they decided to expand their borders and inaugurate an academy specialized in teaching this traditional dance.

On the other hand, the tourist who only wants to know and enjoy the dervishes, can attend his show entitled “ From the alley to the stage ” where it is reflected, through professionals, the colorful Sufi dance and its history, accompanied by sweet melodies generated by traditional Egyptian instruments such as omo, rababa, nay, dof, sagat and tar.

Every night the curtain of the Azhar Park opens to give way to this dance group, which promises not to disappoint the public and to reflect on top of the stage part of the ancient Egyptian culture, on this occasion, not printed on stones, but through the Music and dance.


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