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Turkish folk dances are the folk dances of Turkey. On the border between Europe and the Middle East, facing three seas, straddling important trade routes, Turkey has a complex, sophisticated culture, reflected in the variety of its dances. The dominant dance forms are types of line dance. There are many different types of folk dances performed in various ways in Turkey, and these reflect the cultural structure of each region. The 'Bar' in Erzurum province, the 'Halay' in the East and Southeast, the 'Hora' in Thrace, the 'Horon' in the Black Sea, 'Spoon dances' in and around Konya and 'Lezginka' in Kars and Ardahan are the best known examples of these.
Types of dance
With their structure and formation, they are the dances performed by groups in the open. They are spread, in general, over the eastern part of Anatolia (Erzurum, Bayburt, Agri, Kars, Artvin and Erzincan provinces). The characteristic of their formation is that they are performed side-by-side, hand, shoulder and arm-in-arm. Woman and man bars are different from one another. The principal instruments of our bar dances are davul and zurna (shrill pipe). Later, clarinet has been added to the woman bars. The dominant measures in bars are 5/8 and 9/8. Occasionally measures of 6/8 and 12/8 are used. Aksak 9/8 measures which are also the most characteristic measures, in particular, of the Turkish folk music are applied with extremely different and interesting structures in this dance. They normally wear costumes as they dance. They always dance with pride and they turn their hands as they hop dance.
This folk-dance, is a part of Turkish dance and is performed to a large extent in the Eastern, South- Eastern and Central Anatolia and it is one of the most striking dance. It has a rich figure structure of simplicity is the symbol of creation and originality of the folk. The rhythmic elements of halay dances are very rich and are mostly performed with drum-zurna combination as well as with kaval (shepherd's pipe), sipsi (reed), cigirtma (fife) or baglama (an instrument with three double strings played with a plectrum) or performed when folk songs are sung.
The horon (Greek: Horos [masculine noun, singular form, nominative]), which derives from the Greek word: choros (Greek: (ο) Χορός) meaning dance in both ancient and modern Greek, Turkish: Horon, is a dance style found in the Black Sea region, now modern Turkey. The dances called Horon derived from the Greek culture of the area and are circular in nature, each characterized by distinct short steps. HORON or the round dance is a typical folk dance of the Black Sea coastal area and its interior parts. Horons appear very different from the folk dances in other parts of the country with their formation of tempo, rhythm and measure. Horons are performed, in general, by groups and their characteristic measure is 7/16 For their melodies are rendered very fast, it is very difficult to render them with every instrument. For this reason, rendering with a drum and zurna becomes practical. Melodies of horon are performed with the small type of zurna which is called 'cura'. In addition, in the interior parts blowing instruments such as bagpipe mey (again, a small zurna) etc. The other measures used are 2/4, 5/8 and 9/16.
Zeybeks are, in general, the widespread folk dances of the Western Anatolia. It is rendered by one person or two or by a group of people and its name changes for example as 'seymen' in the central parts of Anatolia. Zeybek dances are formed, in general, of 9/8 measures and have a variety of tempos such as very slow, slow, fast and very fast. Very slow zeybek dances have the measure of 9/2, slow ones 9/4 and some others 9/8. Very fast dances, for instance, teke (goat) dance seen in Burdur – Fethiye region can be regarded as dances of zeybek character, they have the traditional measure of 9/16 There is another folk dance named as BENGI in the zeybek region. It is performed more differently from the zeybek and has got a different musical feature and the most characteristic measure of bengi dance is 9/8. Particularly in slow zeybeks, the traditional instruments is drum- zurna combination. The use of 2 drums and 2 zurnas in combination is a tradition, function of one of the zurnas is accompaniment, in other words, it accompanies the melody with a second constant tune. Apart from drum-zurna, a three-double string instrument baglama, reed, marrow bow etc. are used for fast zeybek dances. In particular, the traditional instrument of the teke (goat) dance region is reed.
- Karsilamas: (a kind of wedding music) and hora (from ancient Greek art form of χορεία) type folk dances with melodic and rhythmic structure and with a fast performance facing one another and different cultural structure of the region and the dominant measure is 9/8 but some other measures are used as well. Their traditional instrument are 2 drum - 2 zurna combination, the most characteristic use of this combination is seen in this region. It can be found also as, Tsifteteli.
- Kasap havasi/Hasapiko: meaning "the butcher's dance" from Turkmen: kasap "butcher", is a modern dance from İstanbul and East Thrace. The dance has its origins in Byzantine times by butchers, taken by the Byzantine military.
- Kaşık Oyunları: (Wooden-spoon dances): these dances, in general, are mostly spread over the Mediterranean region and have a very different structure with their arrangement performance, rhythmic and melodic characteristics. They are always rendered with wooden- spoons and the characteristic measure is 2/4 or 4/4. The instruments used are beast bow (later violin), baglama and clarinet, in general, they are accompanied by folk songs.
- Kolbastı: Kolbastı is among teens in common and widespread.
- Lezginka: Lezginka is mainly performed in Kars and Ardahan.
- Samah: Samah melodies have the measures of 5/8, 7/8 and 9/8. Their traditional instruments are baglama, bow etc. There is no rhythmic instrument. Performance by singing (without any instrument) is also widespread. The most developed samahs are of 3 parts, namely: a) agirlama (entertainment b) yeldirme (cloak wearing) c) kogdurma (dismissing).
- Syrtos: They are Greek circle dances, originated in ancient Greece, named Syrtos, from σύρω, syro, "drag [the dance]" and can be found mostly at the region of Pontus.
- Shiksaray: is Turkish dance, with origins in Black Sea Region.
- "TURKISH FOLK DANCES". ncturkishfestival. Retrieved 29 May 2014.
- sword dance in Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved July 18, 2010, from Encyclopædia Britannica Online: http://www.search.eb.com.proxy-um.researchport.umd.edu/eb/article-9070677
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- http://www.anatoliafolk.com (Turkish Folk Dances in USA)
- Examples of Turkish Folk Dances in Istanbul, Turkey
- Folk Dance Federation of Turkey (Turkish)