Dances of ‘Unity and Solidarity ’: (Banal) Nationalist Symbols and Themes in Contemporary Folk Dance Performances Cover Image

‘Birlik ve Beraberlik’ Oyunları: Yakın Dönem Dans Sahnesinde (Sıradan) Milliyetç i Semboller ve Temalar
Dances of ‘Unity and Solidarity ’: (Banal) Nationalist Symbols and Themes in Contemporary Folk Dance Performances

Author(s): Berna Kurt
Subject(s): Theatre, Dance, Performing Arts, Cultural history, Political history, Nationalism Studies, Sociology of Culture, Sociology of Art
Published by: Uluslararası Kıbrıs Üniversitesi
Keywords: invention of traditions; imagined communities; banal nationalism; reminders of national culture; collective memory;

Summary/Abstract: Since the early years of the republican regime, the folk dance stage in Turkey has been one of the reminders and the (re)constructers of the ‘national culture’. As a result of the historical synchronicity between folklore as a scientific area and nationalism as an ideology, the construction ‘from below’ of the ‘national culture’ has been an important determinant of the presentation of traditional dances on stage. Consequently, nationalist themes and symbols have always dominated the stage presentations. Symbolic usage of the Turkish national flag, photos and pictures of Atatürk and the thematic glorification of courage, manhood and martydom have been so frequent in the performances that, those banal / cliché motifs became unnoticed an unquestioned elements for the audience. They turned out to be the “reminders of the national identity” as the foundational elements of “banal nationalism” defined by Michael Billig. In this article, six traditional dance performances -mostly performed by the leading dance groups, institutions or organisations in the early 2000’s- will be analyzed. The aesthetic presentation of the “reminders of the national identity” as common features of those performances will be explored. The manifestations of “banal nationalism” on the stage like the cliché reconstructions of the nationalist symbols and themes will be examined.

  • Issue Year: 22/2016
  • Issue No: 88
  • Page Range: 69-82
  • Page Count: 14
  • Language: Turkish