Turkey: So You Think You Can Dance

A belly dancer wow’s the audience in an underground nightclub in Cappadocia, Turkey.

I wish I’d taken a video. Still images don’t do justice to the energy and fluid dynamics of these folk dancers in an underground nightclub in Cappadocia, Turkey. Especially the men. They seemed to have springs in their legs, like Russian Cossack dancers.

Our guide said, “the belly dancer is not very good. She is the daughter of the previous belly dancer who retired.” But we thought she was good. At least she was flashy, loving the attention of all the men, dancing close to them, provocatively. And I loved her costume.

The room was divided into five alcoves with two sets of tiered tables in each. I was fortunate to be sitting in a center alcove on the front end of the second (higher) tier, so I had a good view. Our busload of mostly Australian tourists shared an alcove with another, rowdier group from Spain, several of whom were dancing at their table. The Germans filled up the far right alcove. Italians at far left. As a rough estimate, I’m guessing that there were about 400 people in that room. And all around, raki (very strong Turkish national drink) flowed freely.

When the show finally ended, we boarded our bus for the ride back to our hotel, all of us singing Waltzing Matilda and other Aussie songs.

The next day we visited a shop that sold the most beautiful, wonderfully decorated ceramics. And the woman behind the checkout counter, barely recognizable in street clothes, was our belly dancer. It seems that entertainers everywhere must support themselves with day jobs.

The ladies take center stage

These guys were super athletic

Categories: Architecture, culture, Photography, Stock Photography, Travel, Travel: Turkey | Tags: , , , , , , , | 14 Comments

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14 thoughts on “Turkey: So You Think You Can Dance

  1. Now that sounds like a fun evening. We’ll have to see if we can experience something like it next time we’re passing through 😉


  2. Sounds like such a fun evening.


    • It couldn’t have been better, really. To see the local dances done in such splendid style, the wonderful costumes, and the energy of the whole thing, it was quite the night to remember.


  3. wonderful post, my second daughter is doing a turkish national drum solo dance in her next dance competition, so if you get any pictures of the costume they use for that i would really appreciate it ! i hope you have a wonderful weekend 🙂 xx


    • Thank you. I’m so glad you enjoyed it. Every time I read about what your children are involved in, I’m always amazed at how talented they are. A Turkish drum solo dance….how marvelous. I will look through my photos and see what I can find. Now I’m kicking myself b/c I didn’t photograph every dance and I might have missed it, but I will check to be sure.


  4. Northern Narratives

    Looks like a fun time 🙂


    • Oh, yes. Even the atmosphere, with the other groups laughing, singing (that’s how we could tell what nationalities they were) and dancing was intoxicating, even without the raki 🙂


  5. What a great night! Sadly Tinky Town is just too commercial now and whilst there are belly dancers who go from venue to venue, the most popular acts are the break dancing groups and the michael jackson impersonators!


    • Being a former dancer (not a belly dancer, though 🙂 ) I wanted to get up and join them and was plotting some of the ladies’ moves in my head. But luckily for the audience, I didn’t act on the impulse :). How sad that Tinky Town has abandoned the native-dance performances. I would think tourists would love to see them and there would be a big market for that. But perhaps TT is more of a “Spring Break” place where young people go to party. Break dancing and Michael Jackson….really? Reminds me of my first trip to Turkey many, many, many years ago. I was taken to an outdoor concert in Ankara, and all I remember listening to is a recording of Tom Jones singing Delilah.


  6. My favourite dancing is when some of the waiters join in a line at the one at the end has his handkerchief. They lift their shoulders and start slowly but by the end they are jumping and kicking and challenging each other. The best is a wedding that has spilled on to the street and then you also see the dancing from Adiyaman. It is so much fun. It is so masculine.


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