Popular Culture

Folk Dances

The Reasons for Folk Dances, Place, Choosing the Dancers, Preparations

Places, Dancers, Preparations and Reasons for the Performance of Folk Dances

Folk dances are performed at weddings, engagement ceremonies, when sending young men off to perform their military service, at national and religious festivals, after victories, going to and coming back from the high plateaus and at meetings such as ferfene, yaren talks, barana or sira gezmesi.
Dances are generally performed in all suitable open areas, but may also be performed in close areas as well.
People who enjoy reputations as good folk dancers are especially invited to wedding ceremonies. These are respectable people who have knowledge of that region’s music and folk dances. Folk dances owe their rich variety of moves to such people, who happily improvise while performing in order to show off their skills. In this way, dances are successfully passed on to people who may or may not be capable of dancing themselves, especially the young ones.

Folk Dance Traditions, Beliefs, Legends and Stories

Some dances reflect natural events or daily life, and others treat social events and matters of the heart. For example, the Kimil dance from Urfa province portrays a kind of pest that harms the crops and the way that villagers attempt to deal with it. Other dances refer to other stories.

Costumes, Instruments and Names of Folk Dances

Folk Dance Names, Instruments and Costumes

People wear daily or special costumes in line with the reasons behind the particular dance. Please visit the costume and finery section of this site for further information.
In Turkey folk dance is invariably accompanied by musical instruments. (Please refer to the music section) In some regions, women perform also folk dances to the accompaniment of folk songs.
Folk dances are named after their creators, geographic regions, or the natural events or stories they relate.

Folk Dances By Subject Matter

Folk dances may be divided into those that describe the relationship between man and nature, those that deal with rain, mist and rivers, those that describe plants, those that are defined as numbers, those that describe the relationship between man and animals and those that take social events such as fighting, war, love and courtship as their subject matter. Then there are those that reflect the ceremonies performed when a young man is about to go off to do his military service. There are dances about agriculture, the harvest and damaged crops. Other dances describe different occupations, such as shepherds. Men can perform dances that mirror the everyday lives of women. Then there are dances that describe daily tasks such as baking bread and milking, and others that describe a production procedure such as spinning yarn.

Different types of group dances in different regions

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 and spoon dances in and around Konya are the best known examples of these.

Adapting Folk Dances

Folk dances eventually moved away their natural environment and became an art form of their own by means of contests and festivals. Arrangements are being made to adapt these dances to the stage.

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