World Arts West
SF Ethnic Dance Festival
Yore Folk Dance Ensemble


Yore Folk Dance Ensemble

Cengiz Gulek
Oya Taskin
First Appearance in SF EDF:

Like many folk dance forms, there is not one person known to have invented the steps of these dances. Instead dance movements and rhythms emerge out of the daily life activities, customs and beliefs of a given community. There is a complex, yet organic process that takes place where dances are shaped by the climate and the surrounding environment, as well as the political, social and religious history of a region. Dance and music are a manifestation of culture and simultaneously reinforce culture.

Although the Republic of Turkey was founded in 1923 after the collapse of the Ottoman Empire, its' lands were inhabited by civilizations dating as far back as 7500 BC. One of the great crossroads of ancient civilizations, Turkey's peninsula lies between the Black and Mediterranean Seas. Known as Anatolia by the Greeks, and Asia minor by the Romans, Turkey forms a natural bridge between the continents of Asia and Europe. Consequently it is not surprising to see elements of European folk dance patterns blended with complex Middle Eastern rhythms.

Turkish choreographer Cengiz Gulek, took traditional steps and dance patterns and carefully adapted them to a large stage setting. Yore Folk Dance Ensemble was founded in Berkeley in 2001 and is considered the youngest Turkish dance group in California. Yore is joined by the veteran company, The Stanford Folk Dance Ensemble.


TITLE OF PIECE: Spoon Dances from the Silifke region, Southern Turkey
DANCERS: Banu Acimis, Deniz Askin, Pam Askin, Amanda Baer, Erdinc Basci, Terry Burton, Cengiz Gulek, Erkcan Ozcan, Senem Ozer, Nevran Ozguven, Ali Pinar, Ozgur Sahin, Emine Saritas, and Tugsan Topcuoglu
Peter Jaques (clarinet), Gary Hegedus (baglama), Tobias Roberson (darbuka), Ali Ozer Ercan (vocalist)

Each region in Turkey has its characteristic dance with particular costumes, steps, rhythms and instruments. For the 2004 Festival, The Yore Folk Ensemble presents a suite of dances from the Normandy Turkmean tribe of Silifke, a town near Turkey's southern Mediterranean coast. These dances portray different aspects of the daily life of these hearty people and express the joy and pride of a close-knit community. The collection of dances known as Spoon Dances, are accompanied by the rhythm of wooden spoons, which represent the woodworking heritage of these people. The highly ornate yet earthy costumes authentically represent symbolic as well as functional aspects of the attire of the region.

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