Gratitude to Simon Abou Fadel, Todd Munro, and Jemal Wade Hines in helping to create this piece.
Description of the work by Moksha:
‘Her Turn’, is a video/live performance piece. While I performed it at VCFA in that form (as seen in this video), I also created a video version of the piece that stands on its own that can function without the live performance element. The piece includes footage of the featured woman, Tanya, doing the practice of whirling. This practice was originally established by Jalāl ad-Dīn Muhammad Rūmī who lived from 1207-1273. He remains known as Rumi and his poetry continues to be highly valued. Whirling is one of the practices in the Islamic faith that women were originally permitted to practice in equal stride with men. Rumi himself had both female and male students and welcomed women into the fold. It was after his death that this was questioned and women, in some lineages of the tradition, were banned from practicing. In certain parts of the world it is only now that women are reclaiming this tradition. ‘Her Turn’ addresses that reclaiming in a subtle way. The song that I chose to include as the live musical performance in ‘Her Turn’ is our rendition of the first verse of the Mathnawi (Rumi’s main work, his ‘Mathnawi’ was composed in Konya and continues to be regarded as one of the peak poems of the Persian language). This verse speaks of the pain of love, the ache of separation, and the essence of longing. In my desire to address the current role of women reclaiming spiritual practices, I included audio of Tanya speaking about the practice of whirling and reading one of her own poems. In creating ‘Her Turn’ I hoped that the pairing of the old tradition done at this time by a woman (the video portion of the work), with a live performance of traditional verse done by a woman (me), with the current contemplations on this tradition voiced by the whirler, could render the necessary harmonious juxtaposition to give voice to the purpose of the work.