Whirling Dervish Training


Mevlevi turning

Dervish turning has been practised at Colet House since 1963. For some people the turning is a life-long practice and for others it will be for a shorter period of their life. There are some turners at Colet House who have been turning for more than 40 years.


To apply for the training you need to complete and return the Whirling Dervish Training Application Form.


The next Whirling Dervish training will begin in October 2016 and continue to mid-February 2017. The classes are mainly on Tuesday evenings and alternate Friday evenings, with one Wednesday evening and two Thursday evenings. The Whirling Dervish Training Dates document sets out all the training dates. Although the training period lasts five months with a graduation ceremony at the end, this does not mean your training has ‘finished’. In fact it is just the beginning. The turners at Colet House turn twice weekly, at practices every Tuesday evening at 8 pm, every 2nd and 4th Friday of the month at 7.45 pm and in a full ceremony known as a Mukabele every 1st and 3rd Friday of the month. Practices and Mukabeles take place throughout the year, except during August. Don’t worry, people are not expected to turn twice a week every week after their training, unless they want to.


Should you be accepted for the turning training you will be expected to turn up to all your lessons. If you miss more than four lessons we will ask you to leave or defer your training as you will get too far behind and will hold the rest of the group back.


Please do not start this training if you know that you cannot commit to the full course. This training will have to be a priority for you because of its challenging and demanding nature.


If you decide to stop and have a rest directly at the end of the five months of formal training you will very quickly lose the technique and discipline, so if you wish to continue we strongly recommend you keep your momentum going by regular attendance at practices. Then if you want to have some time out later the technique will be sufficiently established in the body and it should not be a problem.


Please note you can only do the turning training once.


Things you will need should you be accepted for Whirling Dervish Training


At the beginning of your training please turn up for your classes wearing a T-shirt with sleeves and comfortable/loose trousers or skirt. Make sure your trousers are not too long — we need to see your feet. Shorts, vests and leotards are not appropriate wear.


Please clean off all make-up. No jewellery may be worn other than a wedding ring.


You will be training in bare feet. Please bring a towel with you should you wish to shower afterwards, and some slippers or soft shoes so you won’t need to walk around the house in bare feet.



Although we start the training in bare feet at some point you will have to buy shoes. Some groups do a group order from Turkey for mest which are traditional turning shoes. One of the older turners may be able to organise this for you. Another option is to buy Scottish dancing shoes, you can buy them at Anello and Davide in Charing Cross Road or at www.standrews-shoemakers.com. Another possibility is trapeze artist shoes.


Make sure they fit well. Too tight is better than too loose. The most important thing about the shoes is they must be completely flat, with no heel whatsoever.



You will need to purchase a white cotton grand-dad shirt, with long sleeves and either white cotton trousers or white leggings.


Women will need a loose skirt to wear over these. Men will need comfy trousers, e.g. tracksuit bottoms. This will be explained later in more detail.


Lastly you will need a white handkerchief.