World Arts West
SF Ethnic Dance Festival


Collage Dance Ensemble

DANCE ORIGINS: Turkey, Transylvania, Romania, and Hungary
Contemporary Dance in Folkloric Style
Ahmet Lüleci
Sherene Melania
Erica “Rikki” Nicolae
First Appearance in SF EDF: 2008

Collage Dance Ensemble grew out of artistic director Ahmet Lüleci’s goal of showcasing the beauty, energy and passion of neglected dance forms and their cultural heritage. Mr. Lüleci is master of many traditional forms. The highly-acclaimed Collage performs in the U.S., Canada, and Turkey, integrating traditional performance with modern Western techniques.



Eastern Tides
DANCE ORIGINS: Transylvania, Romania, and Hungary
Norma Adjmi, Gina Brignetti,Ryan Chan, Vadim Dribinsky, Courtney Kiel, Erman Kirtan, Lori Koch, Jeannette Quintana, Edgar Lepe, Ahmet Lüleci, Shelly Manber, Norberto Martinez, Hilda Fernandez Morales, Alberto Morales, isaac Niederman, Erica “Rikki” Nicolae, Karen Oakley, Taner Oktar, Kayhan Özcimder, Rachel Yamahiro
Norma Adjmi, Gina Brignetti, Ryan Chan, Lacey Cope, Vadim Dribinsky, Hilda Del Carmen Fernandez, Courtney Kiel, Edgar Lepe, Ahmet Lüleci, Norberto Martinez, Sherene Melania, Albert Galvan Morales, Erica Nicolae, Isaac Niederman, Karen Oakley, Jeannette Quintana

Eastern Tides features dance from the Transylvanian Romani (Roma) people—once called gypsies. Transylvania is “the land beyond the forest” in northwestern Romania. Its wooded valleys are circled by Carpathian mountains, and the region is home to Romanian, Hungarian, and marginalized Romani communities. As a migrating people, the Roma carry their culture with them, and they also absorb elements of dance from their Eastern European neighbors.

Roma dance is a fiery and proud tradition. It’s about feeling, a building of community through an expression of sorrow. The style favors individual style over unison work. For example, when they dance Transylvanian circle dances, Romani dancers don’t hold hands, but express themselves individually, showing off emotion, flair, and flexibility, with a soft upper body, incredibly rapid footwork, and exciting vocals. Roma dance has also adopted Hungarian boot slapping and claps, and a Hungarian military look, with straight arms and precision movements.

The first dance is based on the Hungarian mekereki/verbunk. Male dancers enter like a squadron, and with a flourish command the ladies to enter. A competitive duet highlights traditional steps, and the western staging includes precision lines. The song is “Lovers of Light” by Afro-Celtic Sound Machine. (Choreographer Ahmet Lüleci found an exciting connection between the amazing rhythms of Afro-Celtic music and European Romani dance.)

The second piece, Fani, a typical Roma style, danced to the sorrowful song from Kalyi Jag:

Jaj Devla, Jaj Devla, Jaj Devla, Jaj e Fani . . .

Oh God, Oh God, Oh God, This Fani
It is her, it is her, it is her who gives me sorrow
Aj le le le le, I must die from sorrow,
because Fani doesn’t love me

The final number, staged with western-style geometry, celebrates rhythm, Roma a capella style. The dancers are wearing typical Transylvanian Roma costumes—Eastern European with a bit of bling—metal studs, printed shirts, mismatched fabrics, gold jewelry—and boots that are useful for dancing in muddy village streets.

Eastern Tides was choreographed in 2000 and restaged in 2011.



TITLE: Anatolia
Ahmet Lüleci
DANCERS: Türev Acar, Norma Adjimi, Berçem Akbayin, Bikem Akten, Angela Amarillas, Anna Angelova, Campbell Keatinge-Clay, Lasey Cope, Ann Cox, Tolga Çukur, Elisa van Dam, Meiver De la Cruz, Vadim Dribinsky, Pinar Kurt, Ahmet Lüleci, Alexis Maharam, Alexa Mater, Alona Muzikansky, Taner Oktar, Özgür Sahin, Evan Stuart, Uygar Sümbül, Ronit Ronen Tamir, Tolga Telseren

Anatolia is a medley from Turkey, representing seven different regions, cultures, and styles—Turkish, Greek, Armenian, Kurdish, Arabic, Romani, and Laz/Georgian.

Artistic Director Ahmet Lüleci learned to dance as a child in Turkey, and through extensive field research in the Anatolia, he has collected regional steps, dances, and music. His choreography and stage arrangements infuse traditional dance with energy, immediacy, and "a new soul." Today's presentation showcases styles often performed at wedding celebrations in modern Anatolia—good folk dancers and musicians are specially invited to weddings, and they happily improvise to show off their skills. In order, the dancers present these styles: halay, from Turkish, Kurdish, Arabic, and Armenian people in east and southeast Anatolia; tek Zeybek, a Nomadic Turkish dance from Silifke, southern Turkey; teke from the Teke Türkmeni in west to southwest Turkey. Üsküp dances in hora or karsilama style, from Thrace and Romani people in northwest Turkey; horon from the Laz, Turkish and Greek People from northern Turkey.

The music is a medley of regional songs. The halay, kasik, teke,karsilama, and roman are recorded by Cihan Sezer, the first horon part is recorded by Birol Topaloglu, and the final horon section is played by Fuat Saka. The costumes are from Turkey and they represent the dance regions in Anatolia. The women wear Black Sea double scarves, Teke Türkmen jackets, halay style shirts, belts with silver buckles from Thrace, Greece, and Turkey, and gold-coined necklaces, as worn by all regional cultures. The men wear Kurdish posu scarves, Teke Türkmen vests, typical shirts from Thrace, and embroidered pants that represent all Anatolia cultures.


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