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Posts from the ‘English’ Category

Erratic Moves from the Borderland: Contextualizing the Independent Contemporary Dance Art Scene in Turkey

Gurur Ertem

Working paper presented at the Body-Double project (by the Blob), MDT Stockholm


A body of hybrid practices that self-identify as contemporary dance appeared in the late 1990s and 2000s in Turkey. Until then, dance as an art form was identified mainly with classical ballet or highly stylized spectacular forms of folk dances, which were more amenable to political instrumentalization for constructing and expressing the modern national identity. That is, contemporary dance in Turkey is a relatively young and small art field. Although there are some obvious mutual influences among people who work together, the productions are as diverse as the individuals who create them. There is no overarching aesthetic approach or an identifying trait that is “Turkish” about the works. Granted that, they are still the products of their local circumstances marked often by inventive solutions to deal with scarce financial, structural, and intellectual resources.

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Gezi Uprising and Corporeal Politics: Watch out history when a dancer goes still! [1]

Gurur Ertem 

“Imagine, but don’t do it, imagine that you are about to take a step forward with your left foot. What is the difference? Back to standing…

Imagine but don’t do it, imagine that you are about to do a step with your left foot. What is the difference? Back to standing…

Imagine but don’t do it, imagine that you are about to take a step with your right foot… your left foot… your right… your left, right, left…… standing.

…Slowly let your body collapse into a squat… release into a voluntary fall. Breathe, squatting with hands on the floor, neck relaxed… see if you can relax in this position… and come up.”

Steve Paxton. The Small Dance, The Stand (1977)


Gezi Uprising, the unprecedentedly large[2] civil uprising in modern Turkey that broke out at the end of May 2013, powerfully manifested the corporeal dimension not only of social protests but the bodily precondition of politics in general.

What paved the way for Gezi Park events were the culmination of discontentment with the appropriation and exploitation of urban public spaces upon the interests of private gain; the increasing authoritarianism and paternalism of the ruling Justice and Development Party; and the continual infringement of the freedom of speech. Police brutality against environmentalists who had set up camp at Gezi Park to protest the demolishment of trees for the implementation of a dubious, unlawful construction plan imposed by the government was the last drop that incited millions of people to the streets.

Against the backdrop of the post-political neo-liberal order governed by some kind of “majoritarian democracy”, Gezi Uprising presented the rebirth of the “political”[3]. Read more

Cultures of Complaint: A Report on “Teaching the Teachers” Meeting on Contemporary Dance Education in Turkey

Gurur Ertem

Within its 6th edition, iDANS Festival organized the meeting “Alternative Pedagogies in Contemporary Dance Education”  as part of the series “Teaching the Teachers”. The session was short, yet it was efficient enough to bring into light the major approaches and questions (or the lack thereof) in contemporary dance education in Istanbul. Read more

A Report by Daniela Pozo on “Teaching the Teachers”

The moments when people know exactly what they are doing they feel freer because they are not trying to figure anything out.  I was invited to participate in the “teaching the teachers”-sessions, where Alternative Pedagogies and Models in Contemporary Dance and Performance Education was supposed to be discussed. Read more

Decentralizing the Human Figure in Choreography

Gurur Ertem: Your company “Beau Geste” was created in 1981 by seven dancers of the  Centre National de Danse Contemporaine  which was headed at that time by the American choreographer Alwin Nikolaїs –someone we now considered as a pioneer of multi-media theatre.

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Ephemeral Dance Immortalized by Photography at an Istanbul Festival

The iDANS festival celebrating its 6th edition this year also hosts an exhibition of photography on dance, besides the performances and events taking place within its framework.  Read more

Young Choreographers’ “Game Theory”

Gurur Ertem: What made you interested in games, and why did you pick these particular ones?

Anne-Linn: It was Adrián who initially came with the idea of working with games. I have not really ever been a very active “player” myself, but I have for many years been working with task based improvisation and that is where my interest linked up with his. Dancing with other in this way often feels like a well-defined physical game. Read more