The Naqshbandiyya order has, sometimes and somewhere, not only admitted but promoted the execution of Sufi singing, music and dance.  In this original study, Th. Zarcone introduces four Central Asian modern cases that show, successively, an evolution of Naqshbandi dances from mysticism to folklore.  In nineteenth-century Turkistan the Naqshbandi Jahris used to perform codified circular movements documented by Sufi poetry and ethnographic records of the time.  Then, the author describes in detail dance ceremonies in the Fergana Valley, attended by him in 1996-7.  Quite similar to these ones, Jahri dances observed in Southern Xinjiang between 1993 and 2000 are characterised by double circular movements.  The fourth case is made of Uighur folkloric dances performed in Kashghar and Khotan as it is analysed in several illustrated publications in Uighur.  Convincingly, the author argues that those dances probably stem from the Naqshbandi tradition.

Alexandre Papas, National Centre for Scientific Research, Paris
CER: I-5.3.D-498