Biography

Köçek tradition, in which men disguised as women dance to the accompaniment of an orchestra, was an entertainment form belonging to Ottoman aristocractic classes. Although it It was later prohibited by the sultan as a degenerate form of entertainment and thus spread in Anatolia, as well as in other parts of the empire in the second half of the 19th century. Although köçek dancing exists in various regions of Anatolia, it is most alive in Kastamonu, a town in Northern Anatolia where it constitutes an indispensable element of wedding celebrations. The orchestra, usually consisting of kemane (leading instrument), davul and zurna, encourages the dancers, with a powerful musical performance, to dance more vigorously. One of the instrument players, and sometimes one of the dancers sings the songs. The davul player takes an active part in the dance, joining the dancers at some points with certain figures and steps. Köçek performance brings together a refined choreography and local musical aesthetics with spontaneous theatrical elements, all interconnected in various ways in the context of live performance. The Kastamonu Köçek Group, known to be the best in this field, consists of three musicians and two dancers whose skills achieve a virtuosic level.