05 June, 2010

Kızılordu Korusu

backdate: 3 June

For the past week, billboards around the city have proclaimed in bold letters that Kızılordu Korusu was coming to Ankara. I didn't pay much attention, since it looked like some military band. But after i accompanied Murat Can to his late-afternoon photography class in Çankaya, the instructor and several other students drove us up to the lovely green expanse of Dikmen Park.

I really hadn't been planning to go, but the evening's free concert by the Alexandrov Red Army Chorus (and dance troupe) was certainly a stirring. one. Particularly for my host, who, with Macedonian and Georgian heritage and a command of the Russian language, knew more than a few of the songs. Here, at the edge of Europe where national boundaries bear little relation to ethnic distribution, i am often surprised by the cultural overlap: Çerkez (Circassian) culture occurs throughout the Black Sea region from Turkiye east to Georgia and north into Russia. Mingled with tap and athletic Russian styles (yes, i'm referring to the squat-and-kick thing), Çerkez dance was stunning.