Halay: Turkish’s Most Famous Festival Dance Form - classicdancer.com

Halay: Turkish’s Most Famous Festival Dance Form

Halay: Turkish’s Most Famous Festival Dance Form

Turkey is home to most of civilization. It has a rich cultural heritage dramatized in the form of folk dancing. Instruments and vibrant music attend Halay. Halay or Dilan or Yalli is one of the popular dance forms in the middle east. It is performed on special occasions such as ceremony bonfire, etc. Halay follows in three different parts and two cities, namely, Corum and Sivas. It symbolizes “meal, light, and hot.” As per Azerbaijanis, yal means a line or row of chains. Ancient practitioners believed that Turkish Halay is related to Alay. Alay means “cooperation or union, unity, and many people.” It is implied to a group of humans.

Halay: Turkish’s Most Famous Festival Dance Form
Halay: Turkish’s Most Famous Festival Dance Form

Halay: How It Is Done

You will see this unique form of dance in every village of Central Anatolia, south, and Eastern Anatolia. Both women and men do it; the group hold each other’s shoulders or hands and form a semicircle or a line. A leader follows the dance form or style who controls the directs and steps by waving hands or calling.

Halay Circle

The very first dancer in the group is known as “halaybasi,” and the last dancer in the group is known as “pock.” The first, as well as the previous dancer that holds a handkerchief, gradually swings on music rhythms. On the announcement of the leader, the dance starts — the speed increases after a short time. The individuals, along with opposing partners, often clap in between. This dance form or style executes in the open.

Instruments Used To Do Halay

The dance form has simplicity and a symbol performed by the folk dancers throughout the world. The dance form includes vibrant rhythmic instruments. The elements included are kaval with drum-zurna combination, cigirtma, baglama, sipsi. In other words, it consists of a shepherd’s pipe, fife, reed, doubled-stringed instrument, and plectrum. The dance form prefers davul, zurna of a powerful voice, and claps. In addition to this, it follows through gentler sounds produced using wind instruments like kaval, mey, baglama, and clarinet.

Halay: Turkish’s Most Famous Festival Dance Form
Halay: Turkish’s Most Famous Festival Dance Form

Halay Costume

In Turkish folk dance, costume plays an essential and fascinating part. Females wear double, triple, or single skirts followed by cepken or short jackets, camadan, and salta. Melas wear short jackets with headgear, baggy trousers, and Yemeni as shoes. You can also see salvar and baggy pants. The attire decorated with embroidery, jewels, and coins and aprons.

Halay Major Regions

The traditional dance performed during a bonfire using electronic instruments or elements. Simultaneously, Ohuokhai includes a song and dancers gathered in the form of a circle. You can see the graceful movement of feet, arms, and legs upon making rhythmical sound or music. In regions like in central Anatolia, southeast, and east regions, the dance performs.


This Eurasian dance performed during weddings, ceremonies, and celebratory parties. Furthermore, music and costume play a vital role in Turkish dance. Because of electronic instruments and technological advancements, it uses electric elements.

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