17th Turkish Folk Dances Contest

17th Turkish Folk Dances Contest

Winner : Izmir Cigli Community Education Center and Evening Arts Schools / Izmir Region
Runner-up : Kadikoy Community Education Center Caucasian Folk Dance Society / Kars Region
Second Runner-up : Tuana Art, Youth and Sports Club / Mus Region
Fourth : Istanbul Bakirkoy Community Education Center / Uskup Region
Fifth : Yedirenk Folk Dances, Youth and Sports Club / Kirklareli Region
Region Prizes : Ege University Turkish Folk Dances Group / Izmir Region
Tekirdag Municipality Youth and Sports Club / Tekirdag Region
Yalova Tourism and Folklore Research and Development Association / Mugla Region
Folklore Ensemble of Training, Culture and Research and Development Association of Aydin Province and Districts / Aydin Region
Istanbul Uskudar Folklore Youth and Sports Club / Trabzon Region

Last year 16 teams from 6 cities had participated in the competition; this year 73 folk dance groups from 36 cities applied to participate. Pre-selections were conducted in five regions: on March 1st, 2009 at Mustafa Kemal University in the city of Hatay, on March 7th-8th, 2009 at the Cayyolu Theatre in Ankara, on March 21st-22nd, 2009 at the Zubeyde Hanim Teachers’ Public House in Istanbul, on April 11th-12th, 2009 at the Sabanci Cultural Center in Izmir and on April 18th-19th, 2009 at Karadeniz Technical University in Trabzon.

The finals and award ceremony of the 17th Folk Dance Competition, organized jointly by the Sabanci Foundation and the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, was held on June 5, 2009 at the Sabanci University Performing Arts Center with the participation of the Minister of Culture and Tourism Ertugrul Gunay, the Governor of Istanbul Muammer Guler, Police Chief of Istanbul Celalettin Cerrah, the Chairman of the Sabanci Foundation Board of Trustees Guler Sabanci, Turkan Sabanci and distinguished guests.

At the finals of the Turkish Folk Dance Competition, considered to be the most important folk dance competition in Turkey since its inaugural staging in 1994, the guests have had the privilege of watching the best folk dance performances. 

The evening was organized with the support of the Sabanci Foundation whose activities and institutions all over Turkey have been contributing to education and the protection of social and cultural values for years, and the cooperation of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism. The beautiful dance shows of the 5 finalist groups provided an unforgettable evening for the guests. Like every year, Turkey’s best folk dance groups were selected from among the finalists.

"Sabanci Foundation, which is celebrating its 35th anniversary this year, is continuing to carry on its cultural and artistic activities with the slogan "Tomorrow Must Be Better". The folk dance competition is an inseparable part of our activities and we are organizing it with increasing enthusiasm every year" said the Chairman of the Sabanci Foundation Board of Trustees Guler Sabanci in her speech. She added: “This year the competition received a record number of applications. It has been re-designed so that there would be more participants. Last year we met with our minister to discuss how to improve the competition and searching for better solutions together, we reached the finals.

We received a record number of applications; we changed the condition of competing with dances from three regions to one dance from one region, plus we allowed groups from universities and community education centers to apply. Thus, while last year we had 16 competitors from 6 cities, this year 73 groups from 36 cities competed at the selections organized in five regions. There are first time participants from universities and community education centers who reached the finals. My heartfelt congratulations to the winners".

The Minister of Culture and Tourism, Ertugrul Gunay, gave a speech at the night of the finals: "Folk dances are a tradition which shouldn't be forgotten. I would like to thank the Sabanci family for organizing such an event and their efforts to keep folk dances alive" he said.

The night of the finals started with the show of last year’s champions, the HOY-TUR Folk Dance Group Youth and Sports Club of the Municipality of Cankaya. Their dance was from the Siirt region. After their show, the 5 finalist groups took the stage one by one. While regional dancers displayed all their skills on stage, the jury members sitting among the audience rated their performances. The evening’s big surprise was the Kolbasti show from Trabzon Imece Folklor Club, which was heartily applauded by the audience. Towards the end of the show all 5 finalist groups joined the Kolbastı group on stage. When all dance groups came together on stage and sang the 10th Year March while waving red and white handkerchiefs, the audience cheered with joy. Before and after the dance shows the Istanbul Modern Folk Music Band gave a concert.

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