Ozgen is an internationally acclaimed Turkish dancer, teacher, choreographer and director.
Specialising in Turkish Oriental and Romany (Gypsy) dance, Ozgen is regularly invited to give workshops in Britain and abroad, and to perform at international dance events and Belly dance festivals across Europe, North and South America, and Asia.
Ozgen also offers private tuition to people of all levels, from beginners to professional dancers, as well as choreographingdance routines for events and music videos.
For more information about Ozgen visit http://www.ozgen.co.uk/
Reyhan, once a housewife but an extraordinary Romani dancer living in Istanbul is now very famous among dancers who are determined to learn this dance from a real Romani woman. Her dance style is strong, natural, real and beautiful.
She accepts students from all around the world during the year and she also travels abroad to spread her skills around. Even though with limited English, she is able to teach her students not only the technique but also the feeling of this fabulous dance. Reyhan teaches by doing.
Each of her lessons include a dynamic movement vocabulary, presented with positive energy and laughter.
HIDRELLEZ – MOST FAMOUS AND THE BIGGEST ROMANI DANCE AND MUSIC FESTIVAL IN TURKEY!
A REAL ROMANI EXPERIENCE IN TURKEY!
Are you ready to experience a glimpse of the Romani culture in Turkey? Oriental Istanbul is taking you to a wonderful and unique journey in Turkey where you will enjoy a great week full of Romani dance, culture and street parties.
You will be taught the technique and style of the Romany dance from master teachers Ozgen & Reyhan. After going through an intense course in Istanbul, we will travel to Edirne, the heart of the Gypsy community in Turkey to celebrate Hidrellez together with the locals in town.
Enjoy dinner with a local Romani band in the festival field in Edirne!
What is Hidrellez and how is it celebrated?
Hidrellez is the traditional early spring festival, celebrating the awakening of the nature, every year throughout Anatolia. It is believed that every wish you make tonight will be accepted, as tonight prophet Hizir comes to give help to those who need it.
Hidrellez is a very important day for Romanys and is celebrated all through the night with street parties. The streets bustle with Gypsy music bands and crowds dancing to the 9/8 rhythm. The tradition is to jump over a fire and make a wish. You can also write or draw your wish and bury it under a plant or tie it on a tree branch. Also in Edirne, the Romany people have the tradition to go by the river very early in the morning to take a ritual dip in the cold water.
How did we plan our program?
Romany dance is a street dance so people usually learn it by watching others dancing from childhood, but for us adults ( AND foreigners! ) it is not easy to master in a short time.
So, we have Ozgen who can breakdown basics and techniques in English and in his own style, then, we have Reyhan's lesson to experience authentic dance while we can implement what we have learned in previous lessons.
Not enough dancing? We can also arrange private/semi private lessons for you.
Palazzo Donizetti Hotel:
Our hotel in Istanbul is a 4-star hotel in the heart of Pera, Beyoglu. The location of this hotel gives you the chance to explore Istiklal Street and Galata on foot!
One of the newest hotels in town. You will enjoy a nice stay and it's central location is definitely a plus, especially when you want to go to bed late at night after the street parties.
May 2, Thursday
Welcome to Istanbul. Tonight, we will come together at the hotel lobby!
For those who arrive early, we will have the option of a group class or private classes (to be announced at a closer date).
Tonight we will enjoy a welcome dinner in famous fish restaurant district of Istanbul, Kumkapi. You will meet your teachers and the rest of the group tonight as well as enjoying a lovely dinner and live music from Gypsy musicians.
May 3, Friday
Today we will begin our classes, learning techniques and styles of Romany dance. You will be transferred to our modern and large studio to spend the first part of the day dancing, dancing and dancing..
10:00 - 12:00 Workshop with Ozgen < Roman Technique >
12:30 - 14:30 Workshop with Ozgen < Raw Technique and Steps >
Turkish Romany is a street dance in dance. Experience authentic Roman dance that people actually dance at weddings and parties!
After the class, we go back to the hotel and the rest of the day is your free time!
It's a perfect opportunity to take a private class from one of Oriental Istanbul teachers, pay a visit to Grand Bazaar and shop until you drop, or enjoy a traditional Turkish Bath treat.
Optional Field Trip 1: Tonight, you have the option of joining us for a dinner at a local restaurant and watch some of the best Turkish belly dancers and Turkish Folk dancers in town.
May 4, Saturday
Our day starts with another 2-hour workshop with Reyhan and then afternoon is with Ozgen.
10:00 - 12:00 Workshop with Reyhan < Raw Romany >
12:30 - 14:30 Workshop with Ozgen <Roman Choreo >
After our class, we will be on our way to Edirne. Our trip will take 3 hours and upon arrival and check in to the hotel, the evening is free to explore the town and taste the famous meatballs of the town.
May 5, Sunday
This is the big day!
Our day starts with another 2-hour workshop with Ozgen.
10:00 - 12:00 Workshop with Ozgen <Roman choreo>
Free time in the the afternoon. A great chance to visit Selimiye Mosque, the masterpiece of Architect Sinan and many historical bazaars in the town. Make sure to taste the famous cheese dessert of Edirne.
16:00 We’re meeting at the hotel and heading to the festival area to be there for the ignition of the famous Hidrellez fire. Jump over the fire 3 times and your wish will come true! This is the real thing! You will spend tonight amongst the Romany locals of Edirne dancing, having fun and celebrating the major event of the year, Hidrellez.
This is a night of party. We will celebrate the arrival of spring at a dinner party along with a gypsy band, dancing the night away.
(Important note: 5 May this year, is the first night of Ramadan (fasting period) in Turkey. We have confirmed with authorities that the celebrations will take place as always, but we may have to adjust our itinerary around it, so our celebrations are not affected by this reason)
May 6, Monday
We are rising very early this morning as one of the most important rituals of all Gypsy communities takes place. Just before the sunrise, we will arrive by the river to witness the purity ceremony. Young Gypsy girls come along with their wedding dresses and young Gypsy boys dip in the cold river. Write your wish on a piece of white paper and throw it in the flowing river to make sure it comes true.
Afternoon is at your leisure in Edirne. Unless you want to explore the rest of the town, we have 2 great optional activities for you:
10:30 - 12:30 Enjoy a 2-hour folklore dance class with a local teacher from Edirne.
13:30 - 15:30 Edirne is also famous with its quality vineyards. Today’s lunch is at one of the nicest vineyards of the region, Arda Vineyards. Enjoy a barbeque lunch with handmade meze dishes followed by a tour of the winery and wine tasting.
May 7, Tuesday
This morning, according to the flight times of the passengers, we will leave Edirne and drive back to Istanbul. If you want to extend your stay, you can book extra accommodation for tonight.
IMPORTANT: Please book an afternoon flight, preferably after 4 pm if you are returning on the 7th of May. If you are not able to book an earlier flight, then please arrange your stay until 8th May.
2 nights BB accommodation in 4-star Palazzo Donizetti Hotel in Istanbul
3 nights BB accommodation in boutique Edirne Palace Hotel in Edirne
8 hours Romany Dance class (introduction, technique and choreo) by master teacher Ozgen
2 hours Romany Dance class by Reyhan
Use of a modern studio with mirrors during the classes
5 breakfasts, 1 welcome dinner, 1 celebration dinner in Edirne with locals
Hidrellez Festival experience with Gypsy community in Edirne
Service charges, parking fees, 18% VAT
Price does not Include:
Tips for guide and driver
Meals that are not mentioned in the itinerary
Personal expenses and purchases