Mapping Turkey: Dance

Istanbul Street Dance Carnival is a yearly event in which renowned dancers from Turkey and around the world compete against each other.


For the full Dance mapping, please click here.


There are roughly four different scenes in the dance field: traditional Turkish dance (folk, belly dance, whirling dervishes), Latin dance (Turkish tango and other Latin dances), the small but friendly contemporary dance scene, and the hip hop, youth and urban dance scene (often in parts of cities that are not considered artistic centres).

The traditional dance scene is well supported by the government, has strongholds in numerous Turkish universities and conservatories and has an extremely good network throughout the country. Due to the influence of academia, there are innova-tive people in this scene. It could be said that the contemporary dance scene views folk dance as the terrain of traditional, but not necessarily Islamist people. There is not much overlap with the different scenes. The Latin scene is more commercial as its dancers mostly survive by teaching classes to amateurs, and the scene revolves around commercial dance studios that cater to this kind of public.

None of these three dance scenes has much contact with youth, who are more into hip hop. One of the reasons is due to social-economic differences and the fact that youth are not formally organised (although they reportedly have very good studio spaces that they built themselves in the basements of apartment blocks). They also live in areas rarely visited by members of the first three scenes. In the second half of the 2010s, brands such as Nike and Adidas started to organise various events that in-cluded street dance genres. This shows that the urban dance scene has evolved from its confined spaces in the big cities.

It can also be argued that, since 2015, a stronger link has been established between the contemporary visual arts and the performing arts. There are a number of dance artists who create works while inspired by visual art pieces and the performance art genre. The interdisciplinary approach is getting more entrenched as a result of an increase in the number of young dance artists who are educated in different disci-plines, such as the social sciences, architecture, design, visual arts, philosophy and engineering.

For the full Dance mapping, please click here.