Photo of Shira



PHOTO CREDIT: Above photo by John Rickman Photography, San Jose, California.

Scenes from Turkey:

Oriental Dance at
Gar Gazinosu, Istanbul

by Shira


This is Part 2 in a series of photo galleries showing pictures of Oriental dance performances I saw while I was in Turkey in July, 2000. This gallery features the four dancers who appeared in the show at Gar Gazinosu, a nightclub in Istanbul that caters to the tourist audiences. See the Related Articles section at the end of this article for links to the other photo galleries of dance highlights from my trip to Turkey.

Back in the late 1980's and early 1990's, the primary theme in Turkish costuming seemed to be skimpiness. As seen in videos of Turkish dance from that era, "skirts" were scarcely more than sequinned loincloths. Based on what I saw in my July 2000 visit to Turkey, I'm pleased to say that dancers appear to have moved away from skimpiness, and now the look tends to be one of elegance. Or at least, that's the case at the better places.

Unfortunately, I didn't get the names of the dancers who performed that night at Gar Gazinosu, so I can only identify them as "First Dancer", etc.

Throughout this article, it is possible to view the photos in more detail by clicking on them.

All photos by Shira. Copyright 2000. In other words, please don't steal them and put them on your own web site!



First Dancer

Dancer at Gar Gazinosu

This was the first dancer to appear in the show at Gar Gazinosu in Istanbul on July 12, 2000.

Her colorful skirt formed many interesting effects as it moved.

After finishing her performance, this dancer and a photographer went around to each guest in the restaurant and she posed for a picture with them. Afterward, the pictures were posted out front so patrons could decide whether to purchase copies or not. Out of the four dancers who were featured in this show, this was the only one to pose for pictures.

Dancer Performing at Gar Gazinosu
Dancer Doing Backbend

Many Turkish dancers, including this one, incorporate kneeling backbends into their performances.

Dancer Doing Backbend
First Dancer at Gar Gazinosu To the left is a photo showing the back of this costume. First Dancer at Gar Gazinosu



Duet Act

Duet Act Performing at Gar Gazinosu in July 2000

These pictures show the second Oriental dance act to appear in the show at Gar Gazinosu in Istanbul on July 12, 2000. Tanya and Helen, a duo of Russian dancers, performed an Egyptian-style cane choreography in a lively duet. Their costumes came across as elegant, but with the cutouts they were also just a bit daring.

These pictures show how this costume looks from several angles. Note that the skirt is asymmetric. As seen on the brunette, the right side has a slit about halfway up the thigh, with a cutout above that. On the left side, as seen on the blonde, the cutout lies high on the side of the hip. Sequinned bands across the opening create a spider web effect.

Duet Act Performing at Gar Gazinosu in July 2000

Their use of canes as a prop shows the influence that Egyptian dance has had on Turkey. In Egypt, dancing with a cane has its roots in a folkloric tradition. Today, Turkish dancers appear to be heavily influenced by Egypt in their choice of music and props.

At one point in the show, these dancers balanced their canes on their breasts. Oh my! My camera wasn't fast enough to capture that act of dexterity, but I did get this shot of them balancing the canes on their heads.

Later in the show, these dancers recruited a couple of men from the audience to get on stage and dance with them.

Based on the shows we saw and the costume shopping we did at two different vendors, it seems like the primary theme in the higher-class Turkish-style costumes today is cutouts, particularly in the skirt and belt.

Duet Act Performing at Gar Gazinosu in Istanbul, July 2000



Final Dancer

Final Dancer at Gar Gazinosu in Istanbul in July 2000

What an entrance! Nergiz was the third dancer to perform at Gar Gazinosu, and she was clearly the headliner for the evening. As shown in the photo here, she was lowered from the ceiling on a glittery platform. Now, if only I could talk the clubs where I perform into rigging a similar setup for me!

Nergiz emulated the Egyptian-style entrance of carrying a veil around the stage, then dropping it after a few flourishes. Although I saw many dancers in Turkey copying this idea, Nergiz did so more artistically than most. As shown in the photo to the right, she held the veil in a variety of attractive poses before discarding it.

Many dancers in Turkey use the approach of having the skirt sewn directly to the belt when the belt has cutouts in its design. By attaching the skirt directly to the belt, the dancer ensures that the skirt won't creep into a position that hides what the cutouts are meant to reveal.

Headliner at Gar Gazinosu in Istanbul
Third Dancer at Gar Gazinosu

The photo to the left shows how Nergiz employed cutouts on one side of her belt. Rather than simply exposing bare skin directly underneath, the belt exposed sheer red chiffon.

This view in the photo to the right of her other side shows an area where the belt and the chiffon were cut away to reveal a diamond-shaped patch of skin.

Third Dancer at Gar Gazinosu




Related Articles

These photo galleries contain photographs taken by Shira in July, 2000.

Oriental Dance

Other Images



Copyright Notice

This entire web site is copyrighted. All rights reserved.

All articles, images, forms, scripts, directories, and product reviews on this web site are the property of Shira unless a different author/artist is identified. Material from this web site may not be posted on any other web site unless permission is first obtained from Shira.

Academic papers for school purposes may use information from this site only if the paper properly identifies the original article on using appropriate citations (footnotes, end notes, etc.) and bibliography. Consult your instructor for instructions on how to do this.

If you wish to translate articles from into a language other than English, Shira will be happy to post your translation here on along with a note identifying you as the translator. This could include your photo and biography if you want it to. Contact Shira for more information. You may not post translations of Shira's articles on anybody else's web site, not even your own.

If you are a teacher, performer, or student of Middle Eastern dance, you may link directly to any page on this web site from either your blog or your own web site without first obtaining Shira's permission. Click here for link buttons and other information on how to link.



Explore more belly dance info:

Top >
Belly Dancing >
Advice >
Index to Costuming Section


Share this page!

On Facebook


  Top > Belly Dancing > Advice > Index to Costuming Section

| Contact Shira | Links | Search this Site |