11 Traditional Folk Dances to Try

Discover Turkey and its folk dances

Turkish Folk Dances

Turkey has a very rich folk dance tradition that varies from region to region, each dance is colourful, rhythmic, elegant and stylish. There are over 4000 types of folk dances in our country, also known as folklore.

Zeybek

Zeybek is a form of Turkish folk dance particular to Western and Central Anatolia. In this dance, colourfully dressed male dancers, called Efe (its name changes as Seymen in the central parts of Anatolia), symbolize courage and heroism. Zeybek dance is formed, in general, of 9/8 measures and has a variety of tempos such as very slow, slow, fast and very fast. It is performed by one person or two or by a group of people.

Horon

Horon, which is a typical folk dance of the Black Sea coastal area and its interior parts, is very different from the folk dances in other parts of Turkey with its formation of tempo, rhythm and measure. This typical Turkish dance is performed, in general, by groups and their characteristic measure is 7/16, dressed in black with silver trimmings. Melodies of horon are performed with instruments called kemence, cura and bagpipe.

Bar

Bar is a form of folk dance from the eastern part of Turkey. The dance is performed by groups in the open area, and the people normally wear costumes as they dance. Turkish folk music is applied with extremely different and interesting structures in this dance. The principal instruments of bar dances are davul and zurna.

Halay

Halay, which is one of the most remarkable traditional dances of Turkey, is widely performed in Eastern, Southeastern and Central Anatolia. It has a rich figure structure of simplicity that the symbol of creation and originality of the folk. You may experience all the measures and rhythmic elements of the Turkish folk music in the halay melodies. Halay is performed with drum and zurna combination as well as with kaval, sipsi, cigirtma and baglama or performed when folk songs are sung.

Semah

Semah is described as a set of mystical and aesthetic body movements in harmony with the musical rhythm and lyrics. It is an integral part of the Cem ceremony, which is an Alevi Bektashi worship performance.

Mengi

Mengi is one of the folk dances in the Mediterranean region. Mostly in summer evenings, beautiful folk dances are performed. Mengi is one of them.

Hora

Hora (Karsilama) is a kind of wedding dance with melodic and rhythmic structure and with a fast performance facing one another and different cultural structure of the region and the dominant measure is 9/8 but some other measures are used as well. It is performed in the Thrace part of Turkey.

Kasik Oyunu

Kasik Oyunu is a dance performed from Konya to Silifke. It is mostly spread over the Mediterranean region and has a very different structure with its performance, rhythmic and melodic characteristics. This folk dance is performed by gaily dressed male and female dancers clicking out the dance rhythm with a pair of wooden spoons in each hand.

Teke Zortlatmasi

Teke Zortlatmasi is a folk dance widely performed in the southwestern part of Turkey, especially in the Mediterranean. It reflects the movements of the male goat (teke) living in the region. It is known as zortlatma because of the sounds the male goat makes to its female.

Bengi

Bengi, which is performed collectively, is a folk dance particular to the south of the Marmara and the north of the Aegean.

Kafkas

Kafkas is a folk dance particular to Kars province of Turkey. Kafkas dance, which is associated with heroism in men and grace in women, has a very old history.

Turkish Folk Dances
Kasik Oyunu, Silifke, Mersin