HALAY- TURKEY

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HALAY DANCE, TURKEY

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Performed mainly during weddings is a Eurasian dance form known as Halay. This “celebratory” dance is said to have originated from central and southeastern Turkey. The music that accompanies this dance begins extremely slowly and gradually picks up rhythm. Furthermore, traditional Turkish musical instruments such as “zurna” and “davul” are used to produce music for this form of dancing. However, due to technological advancements, electronic instruments are also now being used regularly to produce music for this dance genre.

a. History/origin of Halay:

The word “Halay” actually has been derived from the word “Alay” which when literally translated means “many people”. Apparently, this dance mainly performed in central and southeastern Turkey. Furthermore, this dance is also said to be closely linked to the cities Sivas and Corum located in Central Turkey.

b. Costumes used in Halay:

The costume worn by the performers in this dance form vary according to the gender, and they are as follows

1. For males:

The attire worn include short jackets with split sleeves, an elaborate headgear, a coat made of coarse wool, baggy trousers, colourful socks, and peasant shoes.

2. For females:

The attire worn include a short jacket known as “cepken”, a single, double, or triple skirts, a collarless jacket known as “salta”, baggy trousers, decorated aprons and socks. In addition, a female performer may also adorn jewels.

c. Music involved in the Halay:

Traditional Turkish musical instruments such as Zurna, Davul, Kaval i.e. a shepherds pipe, sipsi i.e. reed, cigirtma (fife), and baglama i.e. three double stringed instrument are mainly used in this dance form. In addition, wind instruments such as mey, clarinet may also be used.

d. Training availability and the technique involved in the Halay:

In terms of technique, the dancers form a circle/semicircle and hold on to each other’s hand or shoulder. Furthermore, the performers also hold a handkerchief in their which they swing simultaneously while swaying their bodies to the rhythm of the music being played. As for training centers/schools, there are none available around the world since this “celebratory” dance is mainly performed in Turkey.

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