2017 Turkish Festival Stage Program

(Subject to Change)

The 2017 Turkish Festival Stage Program highlights Turkey’s unique ties with the Balkans, the Caucasus, Central Asia, Middle East and beyond.

Emcee: Ms. Demet Cabbar

Co-emcees: Ms. Judy Singer and Ms. Ozge Ovun Sert

Sound Technician: Mr. Mike Klass and DJ Turk

11:15 Warm-up Music by DJ Turk

11:30 A Tribute to Ertegun Brothers by Crush Fund Brass

12:00 Turkish Folk Dance Performances

            Zeybek of the Aegean by Yeditepe University Folklor Club (YUFOLK)

            Potpourri by Kardelen Turkish Dance Ensemble

            Aegean Bravery Dances by the Necioglu Family

            Line Dance from the Mardin Region by YUFOLK

            Halay Dance with Audience and Turkish Music by DJ Turk

13:00 Ladino Songs of the Jewish People of Turkey by Dr. Judith Cohen and Spyros Pilios Koliavasilis

13:50 Turkish, Azeri and Central Asian Dances

            Thracian and Balkan Dances by YUFOLK     

            Turkic Dances from the Steppes of the Caspian by Nomad Dancers  

            Spoon Dance by Raqs Habibi Teen World Dance Company

            Ashuk ve Mashuk Show by YUFOLK

            Turkish Romani Gypsy Dance by YUFOLK and Kardelen     

14:30 Acknowledgements by the Festival Organizer ATA-DC & Turkish Festival Committee

            Recognition of Festival Sponsors and Volunteers

            Acknowledgement of Young Cultural Ambassadors

14:50  Dance for Peace Initiative by ATA-DC, All Dance Groups and Audience 

15:10  Bridging Cultures: Dances of the World

            Qashqai, Uzbek, Uyghur and Azeri Dance by the Silk Road Dance Company

            Salsa Dance by Zafire Ladies in DC directed by Bebé

15:45  Sounds of Istanbul by Ishtar Band 

16:30 Turkish Folk Dance Performances

            Blacksea Horon by YUFOLK 

            Bilecik Spoon Dance by Kardelen

            Ashuk and Mashuk by YUFOLK           

17:00  Turkish Groove by Group Turkoise

18:15 Turkish Folk Dance Performances

Mardin Region Halay by YUFOLK

Kolbasti and Rhythm Dances by Carolina Hernandez   

Turkish Romani Gypsy Dance by YUFOLK and Kardelen

Dance with DJ Turk

18:45 End of the Festival     

Performer Bios

Carolina Hernández

Carolina Hernández is a professional dancer from Colombia, she has ten years of experience, and she has performed in countries, such as Venezuela and Ecuador with DanzAgher dance company from Medellin, Colombia, where she and her sister Sandra Hernández are the founders and the directors. She has studied with dancers like Randa Kamel, Tamalyn Dallal and Tito Seif. Today she will perform a belly dancing choreography to a percussion peace and Kolbasti, an urban dance from Turkey. https://www.facebook.com/carolinahernandez123

Crush Funk Brass

Crush Funk Brass is comprised of musicians who have or are going to school in the city of Washington DC. The mission of the band is simple: to bring life to the city through music where least expected, and to continue growing and striving for high musical excellence. You may see Crush Funk at a metro station, a festival, or other public and community areas around the city. https://www.facebook.com/crushfunk/

Dj Turk

Dj Turk is one of the most sought after DJ’s and one of the best at programing his radio mix shows. He currently mixes music for most major radio stations around the country as well as owns a mobile Dj entertainment company serving Virginia, D.C and Maryland. Visit Dj Turk’s webstite to download some of his music mixes at djturk.com

Ishtar Vintage Bellydance Band

Ishtar Vintage Bellydance Band is comprised of Melissa Murphey on clarinet, Jeff Melarski on bass, Brian Bowman on darbuka and Tom Estlack on guitar.  Ishtar focuses their musical talents on traditional Turkish songs , however they play all the popular music from the Middle East and the Balkans. Members of Ishtar have travelled to Turkey several times as well as Greece and Egypt. All of the musicians in Ishtar are from Pittsburgh Pennsylvania and are proud to be invited to perform at the annual DC Turkish Festival. Ishtar has CDs for sale and visit their website at www.ishtar-music.com

Kardelen Turkish Dance Ensemble

Kardelen Turkish Dance Ensemble is a group of dancers dedicated to promoting the culture of Turkey through dances from the region. Kardelen Dance Ensemble takes its name from a resilient Anatolian mountain flower that survives under hardship and severe weather circumstances. The group members are committed to helping underprivileged children in developing countries who survive under difficult circumstances, just like the Kardelen flower, and therefore donate a portion of revenues to organizations that are engaged in the education and health of children. For more information visit: www.kardelendance.com

Ladino Songs of the Jewish People of Turkey

Ladino Songs of the Jewish People of Turkey – Acclaimed musicians Dr. Judith Cohen and Spyros Pilios Koliavasilis will perform this set together. Dr Judith Cohen is a Canadian singer and ethnomusicologist, specialized in Sephardic songs both as a performer and as a scholar. She travels widely as a singer, lecturer and researcher, and teaches part-time at York University, Toronto. Judith first visited Turkey back in the early 1970s, as part of a year of travelling around after her first university degree, going inland to Konya, Kayseri and Sivas. She has returned there several times over the years, most recently in 2008 when she visited the old Jewish communities of Bursa and Çanakkale, as well as Istanbul and Izmir. She was the first Alan Lomax Fellow at the Library of Congress, and recently has performed and lectured in Spain, Portugal, France and Italy. Spyros Koliavasilis is an oud, bouzouki, saz, kemane, laouto and canto teacher. He plays 18 instruments and music is his true passion. He composes music and has released a successful, self title CD “Mediterranean Thoughts”. Spyros’ research focuses on the music, composers and singers of the past with a particular interest on the Minor Asia region. He loves everything original and is passionate about keeping traditions alive for the coming generations.Spyros studied with the great masters of the Eastern music such as Nikos Saragoudas, Halil Karaduman, Domna Samiou and more. He played in concerts around the world, next to great artists or with his bands. Currently, he teaches music out of his studio in Gaithersburg, MD and performs solo and with his bands, in both DC metropolitan area and beyond. For more information:  www.spyrosworldmusic.com; www.yorku.ca/judithc/MainEng.htm

Nomad Dancers

Nomad Dancers is a collective inspired by dance traditions of Iran, Uzbekistan, Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Tajikistan, India, and Turkey, traveling across borders and bridging cultures in search of the ultimate dance experience. Presenting Persian, Uzbek, Uighur, Gypsy, and Middle Eastern traditional folkloric dances, as well as Bollywood and Fusion choreographies at cultural events, celebrations and festivals in the Washington DC metropolitan area. http://nomaddancers.com

Silk Road Dance Company

Silk Road Dance Company. The award-winning Silk Road Dance Company (SRDC) presents women’s dances from the Middle East, Central Asia, South Asia, China and the Caucasus. Founded by Artistic Director Dr. Laurel Victoria Gray in 1995, the ensemble is dedicated to the preservation, promulgation, and evolution of women’s endangered dance forms, traditions, and costumes from cultures along the Great Silk Road trade route linking China with the Mediterranean. Locally, they have performed at prestigious venues including the White House, Kennedy Center and numerous embassies as well as throughout the US and internationally in Uzbekistan, Qatar, Singapore, and Canada. For more info visit:  www.silkroaddance.com


Turkoise was established in 2014 by 4 musicians from Istanbul, Izmit and Cyprus to share Turkish music and culture in America. There are currently 6 members, Zeynep Moore (vocals), Zafer Boybeyi (drums/vocals), Tuna Yildiz (clarinet/ney/vocals), Kaan Çelebi (guitar/vocals), Serdar Çobanoglu (guitar/vocals), and Nejat Sarandal (guitar/vocals), who love playing contemporary and traditional Turkish music with their unique style. Their first performance took place at the Turkish festival in 2014, which was followed by their performance at the Tysons Corner Heritage Festival last year. The group is very excited to be performing at the DC festival once again.  Turkoise performs at college student associations, restaurants, bars, festivals and private events across the country. https://www.facebook.com/turkoiseDC/

The Yeditepe University Folklore Club (YUFOLK)

The Yeditepe University Folklore Club (YUFOLK) was founded in 2001 by Istanbul Yeditepe University students who volunteer their time to share both their talents and dedication to Turkish folk culture. Since 2003 the club has represented their university in University Sports Federation Inter-universities Folk Dance Competition. In 2010, they won third place and in 2011 they landed in second place. In 2017, they won first place and a trophy with Zeybek Dance in a competition. Since 2006, YUFOLK has been organizing the International Folk Dance Festival in which many university folk dance clubs both from Turkey and other countries participate. In addition to performing folk dances, YUFOLK members aim at enhancing the understanding of folk culture in Turkey and in Istanbul, in particular, where their university is based. In this regard, since 2009 YUFOLK has been organizing the Folklore of Istanbul Symposium which is the only organization of its kind. The Symposium is not only supported by Istanbul 2010 European Capital of Culture Agency, but also by many academicians, folklore experts and researchers that attend from Istanbul and other cities. YUFOLK represents the university in both national and international festivals, fairs, and organizations. YUFOLK demonstrated international presence performing folk dance with traditional music and costumes in Bulgaria, Spain, Austria, Czech Republic, Hungary and Slovakia. YUFOLK participated in the DC Turkish Festival in 2012, 2013 and 2014 presenting Turkish traditional music, clothes and folk dances to an enthusiastic audience in Washington, DC. This year with be their fourth time and they are looking forward to meeting the DC audience once again. https://www.facebook.com/YUFOLK/

Zafire Ladies DC

Zafire Ladies DC directed by Bebé is an all ladies Latin dance team performing choreographies by Arlette Guerra from the original Zafire ladies team in NY. The DC edition started in 2016 under the direction of Bebe A. Uy and has been a great success. They debuted at the Resolution Jam, one of DMV’s largest social events. This group is rapidly gaining popularity and offers some of the highest level of salsa training in the DC area. Bebe and her teams have many performances lined up and she is sought after to teach in events and venues both locally and world wide. https://www.facebook.com/ZafireDC/