No 34 SEPTEMBER 2003

Dancing, Again

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ISTANBUL? YES, ISTANBUL

Karen-Claire Voss No. 34 September 2003

Dancing, Again.

                I have decided to give names to all my columns from now on (and may even go back through all the old ones and give names to them!).   The word ‘again’ appears here because way, way back in my third column, which was written in August 2000, I wrote about halk music and dance.  I decided to revisit the topic because I found myself absolutely stunned after seeing a dance performance given at Don Jon in Rumeli Hisarý about two months ago.  After the show was finished I excused myself from my partner and ran up to the stage excitedly, asking an obviously exhausted young woman “Do you speak English?” and continuing:  “I want to write about you.  You’re wonderful!  Absolutely wonderful!”  It turns out that the dancer, Filiz Duran, not only speaks English but was so pleased to hear such extravagant praise that she threw her arms around my neck and hugged me tightly.  It wasn’t until a couple of weeks ago that our respective schedules allowed us to meet, but we finally managed to get together one afternoon at a coffee house in Tünel.

            I asked her all the standard questions about her background and training, which I will relate to you shortly, but the question I really wanted to ask her was “What does the dance mean to you?”  The reason for this is that it was clear to me that what I had seen was not the performance of a mere “showman,” but that something else, something far deeper and much more important than mere technical virtuosity was going on.  So, without any further ado, let me tell you what I learned about Filiz Duran, “performance artist,” as her business card describes her.

            Filiz was born in Istanbul and grew up in a Bektaţi family.  She has been dancing professionally for seven years, but says that even when she was a child she felt the power of dance inside herself.  Prior to embarking on a career in dance, she studied bađlama at a conservatory here in Istanbul.  She is particularly interested in all forms of ethnic dance and has traveled to Cuba, Africa, Mexico and to India, when she was eighteen, where she spent six months studying the dance, especially a form called Katah Kathak.  While in India she learned how to intentionally direct energy while dancing.  Later, she learned a fire dance from New Zealand and spent two years practicing it alone, before she felt she was ready to attempt it on the stage.  She cautioned me to make sure to warn my readers that this is not something they should try to do by themselves.  “Fire,” she said “is nothing to fool around with.  Fire is very, very dangerous.”  (She’s right.)  Her fire dance was one of the dances I saw her perform the night I watcher her for the first time.

            I said above that when I saw Filiz perform that I knew I wasn’t just witnessing mere technical virtuosity so I questioned her about what the dance meant to her knowing that the answers were going to more than a little interesting.  Here is what she told me.

            “When I dance I take my energy from God.  Dance generates a healing energy.”  I was more than a little pleased to hear this, but at the same time I confess that I was stunned.  I realized that my intuitions had been absolutely correct and that I had been led to talk with this remarkable young woman and get to know her.  You see, one of the reasons that I feel such a deep resonance with much of our traditional music here in Turkey is that it means something (or used to, in any case) and has its roots in a very ancient tradition of sacred dance.  Now the meaning of sacred dance has been virtually forgotten in the twenty-first century, save for a few eccentric individuals like Filiz and the writer of this column, but it is no less powerful now than it was thousands of years ago.  Filiz went on to say that “the world needs healing,” and she explained that “My hope is very high . . . Now I have in my hands lots of things . . . I want to make many things with my heart and my mind.  These work together.  Body is our vehicle,” she said.  Health is extremely important.  She doesn’t use alcohol or cigarettes.  She doesn’t eat meat.  She even refrains from taking medicine and instead, turns to herbal medicines since these are more natural.  In addition to practicing her dance, Filiz does massage in a way that is consistent with all that she believes about the dance.  Massage is first and foremost a means of healing the body and as such doing massage is a spiritual exercise.  She is also very interested in aromatherapy. 

            Finally, it should be said that Filiz is keenly aware of her own mortality.  Unlike many people her age—she is only twenty-four—she has a constant awareness of the fact of her own future death.  For that reason, she experiences her work as a kind of fighting with time.  “Time,” she says.  “There is no time.  It will get late.”  By that she means that she knows her time to perfect her art is limited and she refuses to waste a moment on meaningless activity.  She channels all of her energy into the development of dance and its healing power.  Helping to heal our now very ill world is her sole raison d’ętre.

            She has been working together with the Cuban percussionist, William Richard Cardeso Gonzales (aged 27) for six months whom she says has an “extremely powerful sense of rhythm,” adding that “I love to work with him, it is a great joy.”   It is clear that they are able to work together in an exceptionally nuanced way, creating something in which the music he makes is extended by her dance and her dance is extended by his music.  It is pure joy to witness. 

            This fall they have performed in Cappadocia, and at Hamam and the Çirađa Bar in Istanbul.  On October 3 they will give a performance at Koç University.  Phone Erkan Ulusel at (0212) 219 9435 or 0532 215 8326 for further information.  If there is any problem, contact me at [email protected]

 

 

*   *   *

     Speaking of music, for those of you who love the traditional music of Turkey and neighboring countries as I do, Les Arts Turcs Gallery in Sultanahmet has a huge selection of hard to find CD’s categorized for your convenience.  If you haven’t ever been there before, you really ought to stop in for a glass of tea and a browse.  (For those of you who can’t get here in person, you can order CD’s from our website.)  The people working there are genuinely warm and hospitable and love to welcome foreigners to share with them something of the magic that is Turkey.  They are very knowledgeable and will give advice on everything from residence permits to the best way to travel.  In fact, their motto is: Begin your journey in Turkey as our guest.” The thing that I love about Les Arts Turcs is that their whole reason for being is to disseminate information about Turkish culture. 

 Les Arts Turcs Gallery invites you to come, browse, sit and drink tea, talk, and ask questions—

And if you can’t do that, don’t forget our website—the next best thing to being here.

IIstanbul Life.Org : Ishak Pasa Caddesi No: 6 Floor : 2 Sultanahmet / ISTANBUL - TURKEY

Tel:  (212) 458 13 20 , 458 13 19

Fax: (212) 458 13 19

Email:  [email protected]

On the Web:

www.lesartsturcs.com
www.istanbulshotels.com

www.silkroadhotels.com

www.oldistanbul.com

www.orientexpresshotels.net

www.bookingturkey.org
 

 

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Istanbul Life.Org : Ishak Pasa Caddesi No: 6 Floor : 2 Sultanahmet / ISTANBUL - TURKEY
Tel :
+ 90 (212) 458 13 19   Fax : + 90 (212)  458 13 19  - 458 13 18  E-mail :  [email protected]

Hotels in Istanbul,Turkey  : Charming hotels, 5 star hotels in Istanbul , 4 star hotels , 3 star hotels, 2 star hotels in Istambul Guest Houses in Estambul ,Hotels in Princess Island,Apartement ,Hotels in Adana,Ankara,Antalya,Kusadasi,Bodrum,Bursa , Cappadocia ,Pamukkale,Fethiye,Marmaris,Izmir
Tours in Istanbul ,Turkey : Package Tour in Istanbul , Bosphorus Tour in Estambul , Whirling Dervish Ceremony,Aegean 6 days tour , Cappadocia Tour , Daily Cappadoca Tour , Sivas Kangal Doctor Fish,
Rent A Car in Turkey : Rent A Car in Fethiye,Marmaris,Izmir,Adana,Bodrum,Kusadasi,Istanbul,Konya,Alanya,Side,Antalya,Bursa
Rent A Flat /Aparts  in Istanbul : Rent A Flat in Besiktas ,Sultanahmet,Yesilkoy,Taksim, etc...
Turkish and Ottoman Art Center :Online Shopping Center,Les Arts Turcs ,Art Gallery,Music in Turkey,Turkish Tiles,Home Decor