Slovenia's capital fired up over Turkish dance


The sounds of Turkey are dominating the cultural scene in Ljubljana this spring, with a string of performances in literature, cinema, music and dance. »The Art of Turkey« festival kicked off with a dance extravaganza called "Fire of Anatolia", featuring 60 performers. Chris Wherry of Radio Slovenia International spoke to the choreographer Emri Celik and principal dancer Muge Olcum shortly after the show.

WHERRY: Let's start at the very beginning. I enjoyed the show. It's a huge piece of work, very taxing on the human body. Is this not really hard work?

EMRI CELIK (dancer and choreographer): It is really hard work, but we got used to it because of our training. Our regular programme and routine practices help us get used to it. It is tiring, but it is fun to be on stage.

WHERRY: That was really obvious. Everbody who was part of the performance seemed to love the performance. True?

EMRI CELIK: It's true. If they didn't love this show they wouldn't be here. It's lovely to be here. It's lovely to dance here. And it's lovely to see other countries outside of Turkey.

WHERRY: How do you see it? It must be a very tiring and difficult show?

MUGE OLCUM (principal dancer): It is very tiring but it's not difficult because, as he said, we love it. And every day, we run we do our training, we have classes. We get used to it. We just sweat on the stage, come off, dry ourselves and go inside again. It's not that difficult.

WHERRY: The energy really comes across. For me, it amazes me that so many people know exactly what they're doing. There's a long time training and a lot rehearsing, I'm assuming.

MUGE OLCUM: Yes, a long time rehearsing. Each dancer trains at least one year to learn all the moves and be able to dance with the other dancers on the stage. You have to train her for one year. After that she can dance on the stage. So that's why she gets the energy and learns how to get the energy from the audience.

WHERRY: it's a big staging effort, and I assume there's a considerable backstage effort as well.

EMRI CELIK: Yes, in fact there is more traffic backstage than on stage. I wish you would be able to see the backstage: People are running and changing cosutmes, throwing everything out, crashing sometimes. (laughs)

WHERRY: The audience isn't really aware of all this.

EMRI CELIK: I guess so, because we're so quick changing and tidying ourselves and rushing on stage. We got used to this. It's our normal life now.