Göreme, Turkey, May 2012
The Turkish Show
The bus to Göreme was full and so were most of the pensions. It was only April, high season was barely starting. What did all those people do here? We found out just by the following evening.
When we come back from our walk through the different valleys around Göreme, we are hungry and tired. But what is that sound? A big drum, bagpipes and tambourine are played at the bus station just in the center of the small town. We are curious and get a little closer. Then we see the mass of people who have checked in to all the pensions and busses. There are children and young adults from all parts of the country dressed in their traditional clothing.
They all have been training for a long time to take part in this competition of traditional dances which includes the famous Horon Dance, a dance style of Pontus found in the Black Sea region. We come a little closer, squeeze through proud fathers with video cameras, bored younger siblings playing with their cell phones and cheering friends, and find two empty chairs just by the stage. What we now see gives me goose flesh. The powerful music starts and a group of young adults come on stage. They just look amazing, the girls in their colorful skirts, some with woolen knee socks and hard shoes to make a lot of noise when they jump on the wooden stage.
Most young men wear a turban and some have metal chains sewed on their traditional suits. The metal clinks, the shoes stamp and the leader of the dance yells something before each change. The dancers hold hands, throw their feet in the air and jump. When their feet touch the floor I hear the power of the dancers in the noise. They all yell “Hey!” between the changes of two parts. Some dancers have a special choreography that appears to be very complicated. Some others mime a situation – a marriage, a battle or they dance with candles in their hands. The group from Ankara has a very complicated choreography to offer; they dance fast and change their position very often. The group from Trabzon starts with a dance that reminds me on military forces. Also their clothing reminds me on that. Later they lift one of the dancers up in the air. The candle dance is more slowly but very exact. We discover a huge range of clothing, dances, music and ages and we are caught in the magic of the dances.
We never found out which town won the competition and we both can say that it does not matter. They have all done an incredible job.