Folk Dance

Valeria Batista Mason,
Monterey, California

The Horon Turkish Folk Dance Ensemble of Monterey, California, is a nonprofit performing dance troupe. The ensemble consists of five dancers, three of whom are men ­ Yavuz Atila from Istanbul, Tufan Oruk from Erzincan, and Mustafa Ozgen from Silifke ­ and two women, Ödül Uzunali of Ankara and Valeria of Monterey. They often perform with guest musicians Latif Bolat, Ishmael, and Norman Smith.

The objective of the Horon Turkish Folk Dance Ensemble is to promote Turkish culture through the performance of music and dance. It also strives to educate the general public and to build a community of people interested in Turkish dance.

Now in its second year as an established performance group, the ensemble is attracting new audiences on a grand scale. Wearing costumes from Silifke, Urfa, and Thrace, the troupe evokes images of celebrations in Turkey's recent past when traditional clothing was worn, and the troupe's Turkish/American audience recognizes these regions and dances. The dancers consider the preservation of these Turkish traditions important.

Horon members from left­ Yavuz, Valeria, guest Cathy, Mustafa, guest Gonca, Tufan, and Ödül

Yavuz Atila founded the troupe, naming it Horon, because Turkish people will associate that word with line dancing. Although northern Turkey says horon for line dance (halay is the word used in the south), the ensemble performs dances from all over Turkey.

For the Middle Eastern dance enthusiast, Turkish folk dance is interesting to observe, for it reflects the diversity of Turkish culture and influences of other cultures such as Arab, Greek , Balkan, Russian and Georgian, and Armenian. It also demonstrates social connections, as one can see in the very different men's dances and women's dances. Some of the dances are reenactments of daily activities, while others tell stories.

"Our audience is assured of authentic dances, authentic music, and authentic costuming," says Yavuz. This season the Horon Turkish Folk Dance Ensemble will be performing Dokuzlu, Cepeckli, and Oguzlu­ dances from Antep in southern Turkey­ as well as spoon dances from Silifke.

Horon members perform a spoon dance from Silifke, the "Yogurt" dance.

The ensemble is available for performance and workshops in California. The members also encourage everyone to try Turkish folk dancing. We have had a number of distinguished participants from the Belly Dance community, including Llama of Minnesota and Mee'isha and Uzza of Stockton.

Classes are offered free of charge Thursday evenings at 7:00pm at the Monterey Senior Center at 280 Dickman Avenue in Monterey, California.

Call (408)6461916 for information.

Return to David and Val Mason's Home Page