The time I danced in Konya, Turkey. . . A learning experience. . .
by, 12-10-2011 at 03:20 PM (917 Views)
I signed on to work for 11 days at a music hall in Karaman, a smaller city outside of Konya,
Turkey. I took the job upon the recommendation of a friend, a female singer who was headed there for a two week appointment herself. The music hall is in a very religious region of Turkey–the city of Konya boasts several major sacred attractions. When she was hired by the establishment, my friend encouraged me to join her–they were interested in contracting a dancer as well. My friend thought she was hooking me up, as the pay was high, and the singer contracted to perform a few weeks prior had told her it was a gold mine, a real gem of a gig.
In actuality, this dream job was a nightmare. Dancers (there are about 6 in all) perform one or two songs on stage, then go traveling around the tables to dance with the audience members, 95 percent of whom are men. Of that 95 percent, 80 percent are perverts.
This is what happens in a people are repressed by a rigidly religious society, I suppose. Instead of going to a normal nightclub to dance and have fun in a mixed-gender setting, the women remain at home and the men become perverts who slink around in low-brow clubs and try their luck at groping the entertainment.
After a 60 year old man, who appeared to be jolly and fairly normal, dropped to his knees to wipe his face, slick with sweat from dancing to twangy village music (yeah, the music was a problem, too) on the skirt of my very expensive custom-made costume, I was pretty much done. Other shocking, irritating, and pathetic incidents occurred during my 48-hour descent into hell, but I’ll save those details for the tell-all book I’ll eventually have to write.
I lasted two days in Karaman before I broke contract, forfeiting my return airline ticket, and spending a small fortune to get back to Istanbul on the first thing smoking out of Karaman-Konya.
Follow my nomadic belly dance adventures at La Vie et la Danse.