Turkish Oriental


Artemis  teaching Turkish Oriental Nourhan Taching Turkish OrientalThe parentage of this wonderful dance form boasts of the Roma (Gypsies)of Turkey, the harems of the sultans and the turn of the century theaters of Istanbul.

There are intricate and asymmetrical rhythms, improvisational aspects and finger cymbal playing. The Turkish style is less refined than its Egyptian sister. It is less elegant but not less articulate. What it lacks in composure and predictability, it makes up for with spontaneity and passion. Neither style is inferior to the other. Both styles are expressive, playful and sometimes introspective. The Turkish dance is aggressive, passionate and sometimes arrogant or indifferent. The Egyptian style is more refined and elegant (i.e. a typical Egyptian step is a "step, step, glide" and a typical Turkish step is a "walking strut"). Both styles of dance employ shoulder and hip shimmies, abdominal undulations, backbends, shoulder rolls, full body undulations and isolations of the head, ribs and hips (slides, lifts, drops, half circles, full circles and "figure eights").

Turkish dancers still do veil work and this is in contrast to the brief or nonexistent veil work of contemporary Egyptian dancers. Up until a few years ago, all Turkish dancers played finger cymbals. Many Egyptian dancers do not or cannot play them but rather have their musicians play them. Floorwork is quite popular in Turkey and it can be very acrobatic but it is illegal in Egypt.

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