Ziya Azazi: Ember

It’s not often that a work of art stops me dead in my tracks. This one gripped me like few have. It’s a dance by contemporary whirling dervish Ziya Azazi. I first saw him perform in the opening ceremonies of the London 2012 Paralympics. I had never seen anything like it—a flaming Sufi!

Ziya Azazi

I had to know more and found this incendiary performance by Ziya Azazi on YouTube. Ember is a meditation on the pain of awareness of mortality, and the cycle of life that ends but cannot be escaped. As a chronically ill person who frequently feels my physical frailty I often contemplate this one-way ride we all find ourselves on. We don’t ask to be born, but once we are there is no escaping death, and as much as we might speculate and agree (or disagree) with our fellow passengers, no one really knows what our final destination is. Azazi asks, “where does fire stand in this cycle; for a beginning or an end?” Watch, and wonder.

2 comments on “Ziya Azazi: Ember

  1. Stefanie says:

    A flaming Sufi is not something you see everyday! What an intriguing performance!

    • Sylvia says:

      Yes, Azazi is a wonderful dancer. At first glance it may seem like a carnival trick but it is really a profound work of art. I haven’t been so moved in a long time. You can see by the end he has put his whole heart and soul into it. Bravo!

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