Special show by Anadolu Ateşi for 15th anniversary
ISTANBUL – Anadolu AgencyTurkey’s world famous dance troupe Anadolu Ateşi (The Fire of Anatolia) is celebrating its 15th anniversary with a special show in Istanbul that will commemorate the contributions the company has made for Turkey’s image at home and abroad.
“We will have films featuring our progress since our formation, our world travels and adventures. It goes from selections to the stage shows,” Anadolu Ateşi General Arts Director Mustafa Erdoğan said at a press conference at Istanbul’s Ülker Sports Arena regarding the planned opening for the show.
Erdoğan said four generations of Anadolu Ateşi dancers would take part in the show. “This is not only a classical Anadolu Ateşi show, but we will also have examples from the ‘Kıvılcım’ and ‘Troy’ repertoires and new shows. A 4-year-old dancer and a 50-year-old dancer will be on the same stage. Children who joined us three weeks ago and those from 16 years ago will be at this special show.”
Speaking about the contributions of Anadolu Ateşi to Turkish dance culture, Erdoğan said: “We have made significant contributions to Turkish folk dances and dance culture. Audiences for dance have emerged in Turkey. These audiences used to watch this branch of art in small halls. Now they come to such big halls. We are pioneers in this sense. Then we made contributions to dance competitions on television and helped develop dance culture. It helped us gain self-confidence. Our relationship with our own culture was problematic before the 2000s. Even local dramas started to broadcast such things after that. The Zeybek dance is performed in many dramas. Our approach to folk dances has changed and reached the respected position it deserves. We also feel the pride of Turkey’s people when we perform abroad. We teach a lifestyle, not just dance figures.”
The troupe continues to have a profound drawing power, the director noted. “After 15 years, we can still play at a 15,000-capacity hall to a full house again. We have filled all halls all around the world. We have played on the world’s biggest stages. We built a theater in Antalya that has the biggest stage in Turkey.”
Schools for dance
Erdoğan said they had schools in Gaziantep, Antalya, Istanbul and Ankara that provided training to hundreds of students.
“Those who want to dance as amateurs come and dance with us. We try to tell people that dancing is the most beautiful thing in the world. Being a dancer means being the world’s most beautiful person. We not only teach dance figures in these schools, but also a lifestyle: the Anatolian style,” said.
Speaking of their work so far, Erdoğan said: “In 15 years, from Siberia to Bahrain, from America to New Zealand, we have reached over 40 million viewers in 97 countries. This is about the success of Turkish culture and our faith in our own culture. We started rehearsals in 1999 and took the stage in 2001. I said the following in 2001 on the stage: ‘Right now 90 Turkish young people, 90 believers are behind the curtain on this stage. Today we will greet you and then open up to the world. We will represent you there. I will try to tell a tale of Turkey there.’ And I kept my promise. Now in the 15th year, we will meet our own audiences again.”
Recalling the saying “if you really want to get to know a person, travel together,” Erdoğan said: “I am very happy for this long journey I have made with these friends. I love them passionately. We will continue doing better things for Turkey.”
Erdoğan said Anadolu Ateşi would also perform in April at the reopening of Istanbul’s iconic Emek Movie Theater following a long and often contentious renovation. “We will open there. There will be a special Anadolu Ateşi show at the opening.”
The troupe, which mixes folk dances with other dance disciplines, will perform on the 400-square-meter stage at the Ülker Sports Arena with 150 dancers. The show, including a 15-minute film screening, will last 105 minutes.