For the dance team, learning the Halparke has also meant learning Kurdish history, culture and a few words. Photo courtesy of Fethi Karakecili
TORONTO, Canada – At this year´s annual Turkish Language Olympiads, one of the performances at the opening and closing ceremonies will be a Kurdish Halparke dance.
That is thanks to Toronto-based Fethi Karakecili, a Kurdish dancer, choreographer, educator and scholar who has trained a multinational group of folk dancers to represent Canada at the Olympiads in May and June.
Karakecili’s group is an honorary team that will perform during ceremonies in Istanbul, Ankara and Izmir, and travel to Turkey’s Kurdish regions for events hosted by Gaziantep, Diyarbakir and Mardin.
For the dance team, learning the Halparke has also meant learning Kurdish history, culture and a few words.
“The touching, the same-sex hand-holding and the movements of knees were all challenging and awkward at the beginning,” students say, “but we are now comfortable and enjoy the dance much; in fact we love Kurdish dance.”
“Supas, Fethi! Roj bash,” students have learned to say to their beloved trainer.
The group is called “White Eagle Polish Dance Group” and is going to represent Canada in Turkish Language Olympic, held May-June 2014. Although the group is called Polish, the dancers come from a variety of nations, Ukraine, Russia, British and other countries.
The artistic director and choreographer of the first Kurdish Ballet Dance, Mem-o-Zin (2011) and a PhD Candidate at York University, Karakecili has been able to showcase the beauty of Kurdish dance, music, literature and customs at various settings across Canada including University of Toronto’s Isabel Bader Theatre.
Since 2013, Karakecili has been training Canadian High school dancers_ folk, ballet and contemporary dancer_ to link hands, move their shoulders, feet and ankles and perform Kurdish dance.
As a member of Board of Director of Community Folk Arts of Toronto, Karakecili was invited by Turkish Olympic Committee to take a group to Turkey to represent Canada.
Karakecili was born in Urfa, Turkey. He received his Bachelor’s Degree in Folk Dance at the State Conservatory in Turkey and completed his Master’s in Dance at Istanbul Technical University – Social Science Institute.
During the time that even the word “Kurdish” was sinful, he taught for 7 years as a full-time faculty at Gaziantep University and Istanbul but moved to Canada in 2001 and completed his second Master’s at York University, Dance Studies.
For his PhD dissertation, Fethi is working on an ethnographic approach to Kurdish wedding rituals, dance and music in Kurdistan and Diaspora.His other upcoming plan is to take another Kurdish Ballet on stage in Toronto. Newroz and Dance of Colors, is a Kurdish epic story of Kaveh and Zahak that will be performed on May 16, at Isabel Bader Theatre: 93 Charles Street West, Toronto
Originally published at: http://rudaw.net/english/culture/02052014#sthash.rdOipDN9.dpuf