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Conference

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In November 2008 the Dance Conference Cultural Duets was organized at Fontys Hogeschool in Tilburg. The topic was: tradition and innovation in Turkish dance. Marlies Juffermans of ZIMIHC (Huis voor amateurkunst Utrecht) and dance leader Gülay Alp of Dance group Hilal in Overvecht lectured at the conference. Marlies Juffermans of ZIMIHC talked about dance project Görüşmek that had innovation/reinterpretation of Turkish folk dance in the Netherlands as a focal point. A number of dance groups in Utrecht province asked themselves the question how to bring new elements in traditional Turkish dances and how to increase choreographic freedom? As a follow-up to this question, in April 2007 a number of Utrecht-based cultural organizations visited the Turkish city of Adapazarı. The city of Utrecht has a city-twinning agreement with Adapazarı. In Adapazarı the Utrecht-based cultural organizations experienced that there was a lot of attention for diverse styles within the traditional dance forms, also for chorographical developments and innovation. In October 2008 a delegation of Turkish teachers, choreographers and students came to the Netherlands with the purpose to increase the quality of performance of Turkish amateur dance groups in the Netherlands, especially in Utrecht. Teachers of the dance academy in Adapazarı gave master classes choreography to teachers of Turkish dance in the Netherlands which work with amateurs. In the master classes it became clear that there are four levels on which the innovation can be achieved: 1. authentic dance according to tradition 2. changing the lines and directions in a choreography 3. changes of movements 4. creating a new composition Gülay explains that some dances, or some parts of a dance will never change. In the case a story is told, or specific movements that belong to it. These are passed on from generation to generation, and this has to stay that way. For instance Zeybek should not be changed according to her, because the performers called efe for centuries have been the protectors of the weak and vulnerable. When the dance would be changed the function of the efe will change too. There are also Turkish dance groups that focus on their own culture and are not open to mix their dances with other dance forms. For more information: ‘Turken in Nederland ontmoeten elkaar in dans’ by Jolanda Keurentjes in Dans Magazine nr 6, 2008. See: http://www.kunstfactor.nl/kunstfactor/pagina.vm?id=1394.