1.Please tell us about your journey into Sufism. How did you discover it?SSÇ: My dance life started with Turkish Folk Dances when I was 9 years old. I met Sufism when I attended an international organization in 2010 to dance. We did Sema in one episode, then I started researching and now I have continued my research & indulgence in sufism.
2.Tell us more about the art of the mystical Sufi Dance. What does it mean to be a Sufi Dervish?
SSÇ: In Turkey the Islamic Mevlevi Sufi ritual is called ‘Sema’. Semazen (hearing- whirling dervish) is called Sema. Sema meaning listening and zen meaning doer. Sema blurs the lines between dance & meditation. Its pioneer is Muhammed Celaleddin. Later, his beloved ones gave him the names Mevlana (means our master) and Rumi (means Anatolian). This ritual, which started in the time of Mevlâna, was taken into a complete discipline from the time of his son Sultan Veled and Ulu Arif Çelebi until the time of Pir Âdil Çelebi, and was strictly regulated; its execution has been learned and taught. Sema symbolically expresses the formation of the universe, the resurrection of man in the realm, his act with love for the Supreme Creator, and his orientation towards the "İnsan-ı Kâmil" (perfect human being). It symbolizes the rising of the human soul by releasing the ego to become enlightened. In my opinion, a sufi dervish is someone who tries to achieve good and radiates goodness.
3.What does the Sufi whirling dance mean to you personally?
SSÇ: I am not the first to produce this adaptation. Emotions are effective in my dance. First of all, I started to reflect what I felt while doing Sema to my dance, then this was my language, my way of telling people about my experiences. I don't have a specific choreographer, I just think about a topic and try to reflect what it made me feel at that moment. Actually, the performances are improvised.
4.Tell us something about Turkish Traditions. ( Probably a traditional practice of Turkish culture or a ritual that you have been following since years )
SSÇ: Although modernization neglects some of our culture, our older traditions continue, especially in our villages. You can see different cultural diversity in every region in Anatolia. In Turkey, hospitality is very important. Treating a guest is important to us. The guest is accommodated to the most beautiful room of the house , best of the meal is made for the guest. The main ritual that I also practice is that we kiss the hands of our elders and put them on our foreheads, this is a sign of respect. Our wedding traditions are different in every region as well.
5.Can you tell us your favorite poets, artists, dervishes? ( anyone who has inspired you & your art)SSÇ: I'm actually trying to learn something from everyone. I don't have a specific style and I am always evolving with my art. Muhammed Celaleddin Rumi, Yunus Emre, Fuzulî, Pir Sultan Abdal, Hacı Bektaş-i Veli, Neyzen Tevfik, Özdemir Asaf, Cemal Süreya are some of my loved ones ...
"Only from the heart can you touch the sky."
Mevlana celaleddin Rumi
6.What is your definition of Beauty?SSÇ: Beauty... I can say that everything that appeals to my heart is beautiful. I look for beauty in details and find it for myself in my art & dance.