Turkish Cypriot folk dances

Folklore occupies a very important place with the Cypriots, who due to their geographic location, have benefited from a variety of cultures. Romans, Byzantines, Venetians and Turks have all influenced the cultural heritage of this Mediterranean İsland. Often called magical, archeological sites there date back more than 7 000 B.C.Folklore is extremely important in the lives of the Cypriots as it provides unity and identity.Probably the most special part of folklore, which plays a very important role in the unique lifestyle of Cyprus, is dancing. Our folk dances have reached the present day in a variety of mature forms, after being influenced by various civilizations during the past centuries carrying the characteristic mediterranean rhythms and joy to the dancers feet. Cyprus Folk Dances are not only significant because they are liked by the local people but also because they received critical acclaim in other parts of the world. İskele Municipality Folk Dance Group routinely represent our country in international festivals throughout the year.Our folk dances reflect all details of island’s lifestyle. The dances that are choreographed with the motifs of typical behaviours and traditional occasions, typically focus on notable events. Undoubtedly the most important among these are weddings. In a wedding environment, dances such as “ SİRTO” , “ ÇİFTETELLİ” , “KARŞILAMA” , “ZEYBEK” and others are popular.The eagle is the symbolic bird of the island and has always been a part of the lives of Cypriots who appreciate its liberty and adventures called the “KARTAL DANCE”. The dance of the eagle is performed at the beginning of all the Cypriot Festivals.The “ARABİYE DANCE” , performed by the females, is reminiscent of the belly dances performed by womwn from the not too distant orient but it differs.Pottery is another of the many traditions of Cyprus and is an object of decoration whilw also serving utilitarian purposes. One of its main tasks of its people is to carry water is an island nation, where ironically, water is rare and precious. The “KOZAN DANCE” recalls how the women and sometimes the men when the load is more than the woman can carry, accomplish their tasts and the vicissitudes that mark the paths toward the springs.Besides the dances themselves,the musical instruments used and the costumes are also of interest.Folk dancing one way of gaining a deeper understanding of the Turkish Cypriot lifestyle both past and present.

TYPES OF CYPRUS TURKISH FOLK DANCE

*1.)Karsilama
*2.)Syrtos(Sirto)
*3.)Zeybek(Dance)
*4.)Tsifteteli(Ciftetelli) ,Arabiye
*5.) Taklidi ve temsili oyunlar(Topical Dances)
*Karsilama: Karsilama means coming face to face in Turkish. It is danced by two or more dancers by coming face to face, among whom there exists a very good friendship. This causes a smiling mimic on the dancers' faces because of their happiness of enjoying together. There are separate women karsilamas and men karsilamas. In some karsilamas dancers use a handkerchief and dance by (each of them) holding one side of it. Some dancers might from time to time show their special talents like spinning, jumping, kneeling, or hitting their feet or legs or the ground with their hands in accordance with the rhythm of the music simultaneously with spinning or jumping or kneeling... Karsilamas are named with numbers. Karsilama 1, Karsilama 2, Karsilama 3, Karsilama 4, Women's Karsilama 3, Women's Karsilama 4, etc... And they are usually played and danced in the same ascending order as listed here.
*MAIN KARSILAMA GAMES

**MALE KARSILAMALAR
***1- FIRST KARSILAMA
***2- SECOND KARSILAMA
***3- THIRD KARSILAMA
***4- FORTH KARSILAMA

**FEMALE KARSILAMALAR
***1- FIRST KARSILAMA
***2- SECOND KARSILAMA
***3- THIRD KARSILAMA
***4- FORTH KARSILAMA

*Sirto: Sirtos are one of the most liked folk dances and music in Cyprus. Sirto comes from the Greek Syrtos. However, it is easy to also observe the Turkish motives in the ones used in Cyprus. Even Ottoman Sultans liked very much this Greek music form and composed songs in that form. The most popular non-anonymous example is the Hicaz Sirto of 32nd Ottoman Sultan Abdul Aziz, which is known in North Cyprus among Turkish Cypriots as Aziziye Sirto. Similarly it is known (played and danced) in the South Cyprus among Greek Cypriots as Aziziyes Syrtos. This is quite normal taking into consideration that the two communities lived together for a very long time in Cyprus history. In some parts of sirtos pairs of dancers hold a handkerchief from its two sides as in karsilamas. When one of the dancers starts making skillful movements the other stops dancing and keeps holding the handkerchief firmly so that his friend will not fall down. Seherli Sirtosu, Aziziye Sirto, Iskele Sirtosu, Azize, Kina Sirtosu, etc, are the most popular sirtos...

*Male Sirto’s
**1- Seherli
**2- Karagozlu
**3- Aziziye
**4- Iskele
**5- Azize

*Female
**1- Feslikan
**2- Kına Sirtosu
**3- Dillirga

*Zeybek: Zeybeks are relatively slow and have more swaggering attitude than other dances. They represent the determination, braveness and strength of the males. Zeybeks' origin is known to be Turkish. They have also been used by Greeks. Greek Cypriots call it "Zeybekikos" and Rhodos Greeks call it "Turkikos". They are very popular in Western and Central Anatolia. In zeybeks which have lyrics, the parts with lyrics are not danced. Cyprus Zeybeks are relatively faster. Abdal Zeybegi, Sarhos Zeybegi, Kibris Zeybegi, Iskele Zeybegi are the most popular zeybeks...
*Main Zeybek Games

**1- Zeybek 1
**2- Abdal Zeybeği
**3- Sarhos Zeybegi
**4- Sarı Zeybek
**5- Kıbrıs Zeybegi
**6- Anadolu Zeybegi
**7- Iskele Zeybegi
**8- Abahor Zeybegi

*Ciftetelli: Thjis dance is free form dance which include males and females in stage with a careographi

Arabiye: Ciftetellis and Arabiyes are free dance forms danced by females. Female dancers swing their heads, shake their shoulders and chests, swing their bellies and hips, etc, mostly to attract males. Some examples are, Bahriye Ciftetellisi, Mevlana, Arabiye 1, Arabiye 2, etc...

*Topical Dances: These are the dramatic dances with some themes from daily life or special events. They can be categorized into 5 groups according to their themes: animal motions and behaviors, daily and special human activities, male-female relations, nature facts and events, fights and battles with or without guns. Music of many of these dances contain lyrics. The significance of these lyrics is to strengthen the effect of the movements in the dances. These dances enable skillful dancers to illustrate interesting aspects of the corresponding themes. Orak, Kozan, Kartal, Topal, Degirmenci, Nisan, etc, are the most popular examples in this category. Examples of topical dances:

**Orak: Orak means sickle in Turkish. This dance is about harvesting time. Farmer men use their sickles to harvest. Their women also help them. The women give water (in jugs) to thirsty and tired men. Some of the men, when they become vigorous or when they want to show off, start to show their expertise in using their sickles. They throw up and catch their sickles repeatedly, use two sickles simultaneously for harvesting, etc...

**Kozan (dance): This is danced with a water jug in "henna nights" (a part of wedding ceremonies), after the bride's hand has been put henna. At the end of this dance which is danced by only females, the bride brakes the jug by throwing it to the ground. The broken jug symbolizes an everlasting happiness. Another belief is that the pieces of this broken jug (and the coins and sweets put a-priori inside the jug) which spread on the ground when the jug is broken symbolize fertility.

**Kartal (dance): Kartal means eagle in Turkish. This dance is about the struggle of an eagle not to let his prey be seized by other eagles.

**Topal: Topal means lamed in Turkish. This dance is about the struggle of a lamed bridegroom candidate with his "would be" father-in-law who does not like him as a husband for his daughter even though he is also lamed.
**Degirmenci :The copy woman showing her beauty in order to get her wheat grunded without many. The woman offers her hair,lips,ice,to the grunder but the refuses her.
**Bicak Oyunu: Copy’s an animal being cut and hung. It is played by 1 people.
**Koroglu : Copy is a blind man which is known as his brave. It is played single by hitting two sticks together.

**Kiz Sana Nisan Geliyor : It is a acted with the words of a turku. The friends of a girl tell her that there is a boy who likes her but they say that his got too many faults such she can not walk properly so on.

**Sandala Mandala : It is an act between a girl’s father and a man who wants his daughter.

ee also

*Tamzara
*Kochari
*Sirto
*Horon (dance)
*Bar(dance)
*Halay


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