Ankara, Turkey

Ankara, Turkey
2008

The Company’s program in Ankara centered around a performance and 4 workshops as part of the Middle Eastern Technical University or METU 10th Annual Dance Festival. BDC was the first American company to participate in the METU Festival. Since the Festival draws freelance dancers, dance students and audiences from all over the country, BDC’s exposure and outreach was quite broad. Dancers from as far away as Istanbul attended the Company’s master classes.


Dates

  • February 27 – March 14, 2008

    Sponsors

  • Embassy of the United States Ankara, Turkey
  • United States Department of State Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs
  • Selcuk University
  • United States Department of State Bureau of European Affairs
  • Dedeman Hotel Konya
  • Sheraton Hotel Ankara
  • Middle Eastern Technical University
  • Garanti Bank

    Project Activities

  • 4 Master Classes at METU
  • U.S. Featured Performance, 10th Annual International METU Dance Festival, Ankara, Turkey

    Partners

  • Middle Eastern Technical University, Ankara

    Venues

  • Middle Eastern Technical University, Ankara (Map)

    Media

  • Local, Regional, and National News Coverage

  • The Virtue of Patience: While delving deeply into cultural diplomacy, it is sometimes necessary to invest time and energy at a moderate pace that is at odds with one’s own. It is also important to validate the experience of nurturing relationships where the prospect of a tangible result lacks definition. During and soon after the Turkish program, we had hopes that there would be many follow-on activities. These have happened – Ahmet Calisir visited us in New York in 2008; we programmed Taha Calisir in a P.R. event for United Airlines at Newark Airport in 2012. However grander schemes have failed to materialize YET. We hope they will do so in the future, having created what we feel is a common ground with our Turkish counterparts.

    Be careful what you put into print: On a blog entry during our Turkish program, I mentioned that our dancer Bafana sang to accompany his warm-up on stage at METU because a boom box could not be obtained. A student from the university read the entry and was inflamed, taking from my casual words that I was criticizing the students. In actuality, my impression of the student volunteers who organized the festival was that they were phenomenally dedicated.

    The Company’s program in Ankara centered around a performance and 4 workshops as part of the Middle Eastern Technical University or METU 10th Annual Dance Festival. BDC was the first American company to participate in the METU Festival. Since the Festival draws freelance dancers, dance students and audiences from all over the country, BDC’s exposure and outreach was quite broad. Dancers from as far away as Istanbul attended the Company’s master classes.

    We arrived in Ankara after having driven in two van-loads from Konya yesterday. We had bid a sad farewell in the early a.m. to Ahmet Calisir and our new friends at the Dedeman Hotel and then stopped off at the Seljuk University to pack the costumes and load up. We're now at the Sheraton in Ankara, a stunning hotel located half-way up a steep rise, looking out on a bank of houses stretching up the hill. I finally have an image to share from the Sema ritual in Konya. The blur of color does do a good job of conveying the aura that we felt at the time. I've also attached a photo of Shell Games that likewise has vapor trails. Battery's show at the University was very well attended (99% full, I'd say) and very warmly received. I spoke to some students at intermission, those who weren't too shy to venture a conversation in English. They had some fascinating comments about Shell Games; in fact, I thought they "got" the piece astonishingly close to my ideas about it. Moonbeam was dedicated to Ahmet, who sat with his nephew, in the second row. He said that he was deeply touched and that I have a big heart. Nothing could have been more gratifying to me. The dancers did a sensational job and who can say enough about Barry? He was working in a brand new theater (ours was the first theatrical performance given there) in which none of the equipment had been tested and only a couple of trained hands. Two English majors from the university were pressed into service – presumably as translators, but in reality, Barry put them to work as technicians, and wow, did they learn fast! Yesterday was a whirlwind day. Our masterful production designer Barry Steele had a challenge to beat all challenges: how to load in, hang and focus lights, prepare a video projector, hang scenery and train a crew in less than 12 hours (it usually takes about 20 before the curtain is ready to part!) When I entered the theater with the dancers in the mid-afternoon, I heard Barry's usual refrain: "I'm not ready; take your time warming up." Bafana, the warm-hearted clown of our company, is also the person who offered to give the company class. When he asked the crew for a boom box, the answer was "no", uttered so automatically and dryly that we thought it was a joke. But not so: no boom box. So Bafana in his charming off-key voice, sang the company through their barre and other warm up exercises. Meanwhile, the university students who run the METU / Middle Eastern Technical University (Turkey's MIT) ... were huddled in the lobby putting the finishing touches on the playbill for that evening's show. After having pitched in to help them, they were off on their labors of translating the whole thing into Turkish. As is almost always the case, the playbill got done just before the audience arrived; and things on stage got done too; well, sort of.

    The hall of 800 seats was filled to about 2/3 capacity --apparently twice as many as who had attended the previous night's show. There was surprisingly little diversity of age in the audience -- primarily college students and a smattering of teachers, Embassy staff and the odd senior dance fan! Each of the four dances received warm applause, though Shell Games and I'll Take You There were the crowd favorites. Our student guide Zeynap rushed the dancers into their clothes so that we could get to the nearby kabob house before closing. We downed our dinners in minutes flat and were back to the theater to pack up the costumes (still damp, a testament to the dancers' exertions). Several of the dancers had to wake up early the next morning to take the shuttle bus from our hotel back to the University campus in order to teach master classes. I hope that one of them will post a report soon on those activities: Instead of watching them myself, I spent most of the day in my room on the internet figuring out our return flights, due to the cancellation of our program in Armenia caused by the unrest there.

    Turkey 2008

    Konya, Turkey
    Ankara, Turkey