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DANCE, MUSIC and COSTUME
TURKISH ROMA DANCE
Turkish Orientale's strong roots in Romany dance and music has led to an increased interest in Turkish Romany. Some very excellent belly dancers now perform and teach both Turkish Oriental and Turkish Romany. Aslahan has a clear description on her web site about the differences between Turkish Romany and Turkish Oriental.
Ahmet Ogren has a web site but not much on it. He did take the time to post the following on Tribe.net:
"Roman Dance is an individual dance and is a dance of improvisation. Roman Dancer dances according to what one feels within the music that is being played.
"In order to dance Romany dance one must do a research on Roman Dance. Their life style and mentality must be taken to consideration. If you want to really learn Roman Dance then research on your teachers as well, swirling the skirts does not make a Roman Dancer!
"The difference between Karsilama and Roman dance is: Karsilama: 1-2, 1-2, 1-2, 1-2-3 as a measuring rhythm (Never can be danced as a Solo). Roman: 1-2, 1-2, 1-2, 1-3 as a measuring rhythm. More simplified 1-2-3-4-5: One step, two step, three step, Four; (Skip) Jump, Five a step."
DANCE RHYTHMDavid of Davr:
Roman musicians play many kinds of music. mostly for restaurant gigs and non-roman events they will play all kinds of standard Turkish folk, pop and even classical and many play a little Arabic music too. essentially, they are paid musicians and are going to play what most people in turkey want: turkish music(with a little roman thrown in). Basically, it's a gig. Now, that has nothing to do with what they consider to be Roman music and dance or 'Roma Oyun Havasi', as it is called. this music and dance features exclusively(at this time) 9/8 music and the movements you will see from Reyhan. this is what they play and dance at their events and weddings. and is seen all over inside the old Ottoman borders of Trakya/Thrace - now Turkey, eastern Greece, southern Bulgaria. the music and dance are completely their own thing and have very specific tendencies with room for improv as the art progresses.
If a Roman person dances to non-Roman(non- Roman 9/8) music, it is just called "dance" it is no longer Roman oyun havasi.
Karsilama... has nothing specific to do with Roman Oyun Havasi. Karsilama is a Turkish/Greek partner folk dance that has many variations around Turkey and is done commonly to the standard turkish 9/8 (D-T-D-TT-) that everyone knows, but also to many other rhythms including 3,5,7,10. the steps in Roman Oyun Havasi dance may be similar to some versions of karsilama dance but are not necessarily used. Wiki says: Karsilamas is a Turkish folk dance spread all over Northwest Asia Minor and carried to Greece by Asia Minor refugees.
So, the rhythms: that standard Turkish 9/8, (which is often called karsilama in the USA, not in Turkey), is almost never used in Roman songs. The main forms of 9/8 used in the majority of Roman music, there are many many variations of these rhythms, as a percussionist, i would say there are about 8 to 10 standard variations of 2 or 3 main forms that i generally hear and use. they are weird and do not sound like the 9/8 we all know and love!
Ahmet Ogren on KARSILAMA: Karsilama is not a Roman Dance... they both share 9/8 rhythm. All music that has 9/8 rhythm is not a Roman music.Karsilama Dance has rules and regulations, without these rules there won't be a Karsilama Dance! These Rules are:
Roman Dance is an individual dance and is a dance of improvisation. Roman Dancer dances according to what one feels within the music that is being played.
Artemis Mourat, teaching Turkish Romany in Louisville in 2006, gave us a list of movements and gestures that are featured in Turkish Romany dance. According to Artemis, the hand gestures had no meaning other than the obvious; in short, we were free to use them as desired.
A few notes gathered from Bhuz.com"What you will be told are the meanings will vary greatly depending on who you talk to, what their relationship is to Romani culture, what they might judge YOUR relation to Romani culture to be..yadda yadda yadda. Some gestures (skirt wringing, scrubbing, instruments mimed, making bread) are drawn from real-life, some gestures do have multiple meanings (sweeping the arms in some ways can mean anything from "look at how well I am provided for, my bangles; to... where ARE my bangles?... why aren't you providing more? and then there are cuts and hits. Cuts and hits are usually primarily to somewhat show percussive sounds, accents, and can be used over most of the body...sometimes a hit to the hip might indicate your powerful baby-capable hips but might also just mean the music is playing a Dum..."
SKIRT DANCINGFrom Bhuz:
If you bring in a lot of skirt work into your solo, be aware that skirt work and skirt choreography to Turkish/Romani music generally comes from American Cabaret interpretation and is not traditionally part of Turkish Romani dance. There are some Russian Romani who do a dance of displaying large skirts (but it isn't that swooshy) and there is some skirt in Flamenco which also has Romani roots, but some Romani do consider the skirt touching and flipping about to be unclean.
Not to say that you can't touch your skirt, or even that you can't do American Cabaret skirt work, just that it isn't Turkish ”Gypsy”/Romani and shouldn't be presented as such.
Artemis, noted dancer and researcher in the US, explains why skirt dancing is NOT Roma /gypsy dance, but an American invention! With some discussion on how to skirt dance effectively.
TEACHERS and PERFORMERS
Teachers who specialize in Turkish dance often understand Turkish Romany dance. Ruric has taken workshops from several of these teachers, so if you are a student and want Ruric's recommendation before investing money, ask her!
Artemis: You can see Artemis do a lot of the gestures listed below in this 2011 performance at Tribal Fest, starting at about 1:05 (the first minute is Turkish Oriental) and running through 3:01.
Artemis: Interview in which she describes the artistic and political necessity of studying Romany dance before talking about or performing it.
Aslahan, Turkish Roman Dance, Aslahan.com, Web.
Kajira Djoumahna, The Gypsy Trail— Antiquity and the Avant Garde, Crescent Moon magazine, May 1996. Interview with Carolena Nericcio and Dalia Carella.
Ahmet Ogren, Turkish Roman dancer and teacher.
Eva Cernik, one of America's foremost performers of the style.
Fatima Serin performs a lively roman havasi. .
Jennet Shook in a solo performance.
Ozgen:Turkish Romany and Orientale dancer.
Reyhan Tuzsuz: Reyhan T and her husband have been slowly making their mark in the international dance circles for their authentic dance and music.
Salome, Ahmet Orgen: Romany Dance, Web. Interview with Ahmet Orgenin which he describes the essence of Romany Dance.
Jennet Shook, solo performance with lots of hand movements, Web.
A twenty-minute documentary on Turkish Roma music and dance .
School festival videos:
Roman Havasi, social dance at a party.
More social Roman Havasi at a party.
More social Roman Havasi at a party.
A good example of stomach throwing at a Romany event by a woman who seems to be the professional entertainment. Clearly defined Romany 9/8 beat in the background with wailing electronic guitar on top. The woman is dressed in salwar with a head scarf.
Female dancers with the traditional salwar and stomach throws.
How To Dance When Your Car Breaks Down; Two guys and a girl, to say nothing of the shoe!
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