For most children, touring the world with a renowned dance troupe sounds like an impossible dream. But thanks to the Fire of Anatolia Dance Academy, which has just opened a school at Mall of Istanbul (with branches in İzmir, Bursa, and Antalya soon to come) young artists now have more access to dance education, and potentially, the stage.
Whether or not they are later recruited into the adult Fire of Anatolia troupe, artistic director Mustafa Erdoğan says every child benefits from dance education. “They learn folk dances, modern dance, flamenco, ballet – they develop an idea of all the disciplines of dance. In general, by learning the philosophy of dance they also improve their personal stance, their human and cultural foundation, and their lives outside of dance. It’s an important addition to their normal education,” Erdoğan says. The academy also puts on Kıvılcım shows, with children selected from the school’s students to make up the first all-children performances in Turkey.
Since 2001, Fire of Anatolia has performed in prestigious venues across the globe, from Kremlin Palace to the Pyramids of Giza. In these 15 years, Turkey has also found a new interest in dance, with popular television dance contests and more dance scenes in TV series and films. While European dance troupes often struggle to find male dancers, Erdoğan’s groups have an equal mix of genders. “Generally women are more drawn to dance. But in Turkey we have war dances, sword dances, and heroic dances like the Zeybek dance, so the character of these attracts men as well,” he explains.
As a combined shopping center and arts center, Mall of İstanbul is an important new location for the school. Dance workshops and performances around the center encourage many parents to sign their children up for classes. Thanks to the new schools, in the coming years, Erdoğan plans to bring Kıvılcım shows to larger arenas and later to stadium venues across Turkey.
For more details of children’s and adult classes see www.anadoluatesi.com