Monday, September 12, 2011

Short Review of Metin And's "Dances of Anatolian Turkey"

This weekend my reading group covered "Dances of Anatolian Turkey" by Metin And from Dance Perspectives, published in 1959. (Here is some biographical information about And). This is a great article for those looking to understand the broad scope of dance in Turkey.

There are a few drawbacks that I would like to acknowledge. And presents his categories of Turkish dance in the common omniscient voice of his time. From reading the article, the reading group quickly noted that he relies heavily upon his own expertise supplemented by a few other (often Western) writers. However, we were not provided with details about where And received his details. We certainly did not hear voices of the practitioners although we did get to read descriptions about some of their movements. And does not examine the dance in terms of economics, although he strongly distinguishes urban and peasant dances. In addition, And at times presents an inconsistent overview. For example, we learned much more about male outfits than female ones.

However, And offers readers a lot. First of all, it is one of the few texts in English that focuses on Turkish dance. Secondly, And is an expert in not only dance but theater and this comes through in a mind boggling number of dance names and locations that he presents to his readers. It is in this area that I think the article is certainly worth reading. Dancers and researchers can employ it as an entry point into the vast and diverse culture of Turkish dance. 
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