Sufi whirling: Meet the dancers who learn to spin before they can talk

These dancers can twirl dozens of times per minute without moving an inch from their spot.

The al-Kharrat family is one of the most reputed in Damascus for Sufi whirling, boasting 20 dervish dancers who often perform during the Islamic holy month of Ramadan.

What is Sufi whirling?

Sufi whirling is a form of religious dance in which the performer wears traditional dress and spins in circles.

Sufis are practitioners of Sufism, known as tasawwuf in Arabic, which is an approach to practising Islam that emphasises the inward search for God.

The al-Kharrat family began performing Sufi whirling more than 100 years ago. Muayad and Mahmoud started twirling as children, taught first by their

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