KARSILAMAS- TURKEY

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Literally meaning “encounter, welcoming, or greeting” is a Eurasian dance style known as Karsilamas. This “folk” dance is said to have originated from Turkey mainly from the northwest region. Like several other Turkish dances this too is mainly performed during marriages and festivals. Historically speaking, this dance form was also introduced into the Greek culture by refugees. Furthermore, apart from Turkey and Greece this dance style is also popular in countries such as Cyprus and Serbia.

a. History/origin of the Karsilamas:

 The word “Karsilamas” is derived from the Turkish word “Karsilama” which literally means “face-to-face greeting”. Historically speaking this dance form has been performed since the time of the Ottoman Empire which included countries such as Serbia, Macedonia, and the Thrace region located in northern Greece.

b. Costumes used in the Karsilamas:

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 Karsilamas:

The musical instruments mainly used in this dance genre include the drums, shrill pipe, tambourine, and cymbals.

 d. Training availability and technique involved in the Karsilamas:

In terms of technique, this dance involves the performer facing each other and swaying to the rhythm of the accompanying music. Furthermore, the basic move of this dance genre also involves the use of four small steps. In addition, the style and the mood of this dance is said to vary from region-to-region. As for training centers/schools, there are not many available around the world since this “folk” dance is mainly performed in the northwest of Turkey.

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