Zeybek Folk Dances

When we talk about the Aegean region, the first thing that comes to mind is efe and zeybek. “Efe” are known as valiant, brave, assertive people who stand against injustice. The folk dance genre of the region is called Zeybek in general. The effects of zeybek folk dances can be seen in our provinces on the west side of the Antalya, Burdur, Isparta, Afyon, Eskişehir and Sakarya line.

Zeybek tunes are divided into two groups as “slow” (9/4 and 9/2) and “yürük” (fast, vivid) zeybek. Zeybek tunes are also classified as “female zeybek”, “urban zeybek” and “rural zeybek”. The slowest and most spectacular zeybek, performed in many parts of the Aegean, can be found in İzmir, along with the provinces of Aydın, Muğla and Manisa.

Dance figures vary according to the emotions and skills of the dancer. For this reason, there are differences in the steps, bendings and turns of those who perform the same dance in single zeybeks. Jumps in the dance, knocking on the knees and walking style symbolize the self-confidence, honesty, bravery and challenge to the world.

Zeybek melodies are played with drums – double “zurna” (or clarinet) outdoors, and with “baglama” in indoor environments. The dances are usually accompanied by a double zurna and one plays the tune and the other holds the decision sound. At the beginning of the dance, there is an introductory part played freely in the maqam of the melody. In this section, which is called "Wandering", the dancers wander around the area slowly. When the tune is entered, they start the dance by shouting. On the other hand, female zeybeks do not have a wandering section, and they are usually in wlking moves in compare to male zeybeks.

In Zeybek dances, the arms are raised while the right foot is thrown forward. The arms swing during triple taps, then lifted up and held above the head. At the end of the dance the left arm is lowered. The body is always upright, the eyes look tough.

Also Zeybek clothes differ in colors, embroidery, ornaments, jewelery and other accessories used according to the region where the dance is performed.

Zeybek dance names are given according to the name of the region where the tune is played (such as Çandarlı Zeybeği), the name of the person famous in the region (İnce Mehmet Zeybeği) or the first verse of the tune in oral zeybeks. The best known of the local zeybek dances are; Arpazlı, Bengi, Pergamum Zeybeği, Çakıcı Efe, Çandarlı Zeybeği, Harmandalı, Karaburun Zeybeği, İkiparmak Zeybeği, İnce Mehmet Zeybeği, Big Left-Handed, Koyundere Zeybeği, Kozak Zeybeği, Blind Feast, Azan Var, Nacakoğlu Zeybeği, Ötme Bülbül Zeybeği , Sepetçioğlu, Sogukkuyu Zeybeği, Somali Zeybeği, Ornate Gendarmerie, Tire Zeybeği, Greasers Zeybeği, Yalabik Zeybeği, Zahide Molla Zeybeği.