National costumes at the culture festival in one of the Istanbul’s suburbs (Photos, videos)
It is not so often that one gets an opportunity to see traditional costumes of different world nations. But it is possible to do this in Büyükçekmece located in the outskirts of Istanbul. This year the town has hosted the World Culture and Art Festival for the fourteenth time. Actors, choreographic teams, representatives of fundamental arts, masters of applied arts and folk crafts from many countries participated in this festival.
Dance teams competed for the right to be the best. Certainly, qualities of their costumes and representation of the corresponding folk cultures were of different levels. Some representatives had true national costumes breathing of antiquity. Others were dressed in clothes of loud colors and sometimes made of synthetic fabrics. But the most important and genuine in this undoubtedly were people who came to the festival from different parts of the world.
The festival lasted in the period of 28 June – 6 July. It was opened with a grand procession along the tourist part of the Sea of Marmora shore. A column of participants of different nationalities dressed in traditional costumes and holding flags went through the town to the accompaniment of drum-beat, cheers and applause of the locals, exchanging their greetings and elevated moods.
In the evening after the procession there were performances of the dance teams on the central square of the city. Mayor of Büyükçekmece Municipality Dr. Hasan Akgün delivered a welcome speech. He personally supervised the festival and paid much attention to each artist and dance team.
This year the participants have come to Turkey from 15 countries on different continents, in particular, from Brazil, Bulgaria, Estonia, Philippines, Montenegro, Northern Cyprus, Kosovo, Hungary, Mexico, Egypt, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Ukraine and Greece. Each team brought traditional and modernized dance shows which were demonstrated on the main festival stage each evening.
Those participants who managed to reveal specifics of their culture through the dances were awarded by a specially selected international jury consisting of ten people. We got an opportunity to talk directly to one of the jurors and to ask him about the process of the contest.
Aleksandar Ardzaliev from Macedonia:
“In fact, it’s not easy to make judgements here. But during the entire festival some teams kept drawing our attention. Majority of them demonstrated new dancing performances each day, but some of the teams in addition used to change their costumes to those of different regions of their countries. We were watching the dance teams each day starting from the grand procession till the festival closure ceremony. Each time there was some performer who struck your eye, who danced with passion and special inspiration. And the dance itself can be technically imperfect but if the person puts a lot of the heart and soul in it, it is always felt and can serve as a criterion in such a case.
As time goes by, I notice that more and more dance teams try to adapt their traditional “chamber” dances to large auditoriums, to make shows of them. To some degree, due to this dances lose their traditional component. But it is not so bad. I like it when performances are modernized and something new is shown together with traditional things, but one cannot make general judgments about this. And at the traditional culture festival the performers have to dance within the traditional scope.
Speaking about the festival in this part, we can say it had all kinds of things: some teams were very traditional; some of them mixed past with contemporary; some performed totally modern dancing. In this case the tradition was an important component, so the winners of the dancing contest were identified based on this tradition.”
There were several nominations for the best ones. Two participants were chosen the best dancers — from Brazil and Mexico. They got a prize award of 200 US dollars. The best music based on the results of the jury’s vote was played by Bulgarians; the best choreography was shown by the representatives of the Northern Cyprus, and Slovak representatives had the best costumes. Speaking about the dancing contest, we must say that its winner was a National Group of Folk Dance called “Bayahihan” from Philippines. The second place was taken by the National Singing and Dancing Company “Shota” from Kosovo; the third one was given to the Dance Team “Nuirseg” from Hungary. The prize winners were awarded 1000, 750 and 500 US dollars accordingly.
Kateryna Kachur, Bohdan Hdal, Rukotvory
Translated by Olena Guda