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Rockin' the Yalova Stadium, Anatolian Style
March 11, 2000

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Ancient Anatolian magic under Ataturk's watchful eye
Cheering students are packed into the bleachers of the main sports arena in Yalova. The loudest cheer comes for Yalova Lise, or Yalova High School, one of the largest schools in the area. What is all of the fuss about? What is going on here? Brian and I are at a dance competition and clearly everyone is very excited.

Soon traditional Turkish music begins. This type of music is called "Taverna" music. Special instruments are used to play it. The tabla is a small, but loud, hand drum. The ud is similar to a guitar but with more strings. A zurna is also played. You might recognize a zurna because it is used by snake charmers to get snakes out of baskets!!

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The costumes recall the days of the great Ottoman Empire
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Preparing for battle, the boys of Yalova Lise
Suddenly, the floor is alive with color and movement. The dance team from Yalova Lise has come on the stage. First the girls come out, dressed in bright costumes of pinks, whites, and greens, trimmed in gold. They swirl around the floor until the music changes and the boys jump out in front of them. They look like warriors preparing to go into battle!

The crowd goes crazy! It's the kind of thing I would expect at a football game, but not at an inter-school traditional dance competition. It takes my breath away. These guys are good!


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