Zeybek dance

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Balıkesir zeybek dance
Extension and distribution of folk dances in today’s Turkey

The zeybek is a form of folk dance peculiar to Western, Central and southern Anatolia in Turkey. It is named after the Zeybeks.

All zeybek dances have a common characteristic form, but the positioning of the arms and body differ according to the different regions. The rhythm is also very characteristic, a pattern of nine slow beats: 9/4 = 2+2+2+3 beats or 3+2+2+2 with occasional variations.

Zeybek melodies can be divided according to their tempo: ağır (slow) and kıvrak (fast). The ağır zeybek have rhythmic patterns of 9/2 or 9/4, which begin with an introduction called gezinleme in free style where the dancers wander freely before starting to dance in time with the rhythm. There is, however, no gezinleme introduction in female zeybek dances. Kıvrak zeybek have rhythmic patterns of 9/8 or 9/16.

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