Location: Los Angeles, Calif., and Istanbul, Turkey
Occupation: I’m a Ph.D. candidate in culture and performance at UCLA’s Department of World Arts and Cultures/Dance (formerly Dance Ethnology).
Connection to Balkan music/dance: I’m a professional dancer specializing in traditional dances of Asia Minor, Turkish Roma, and Flamenco. Parts of my work and dance research can be seen on my blog, www.terraroman.com
Number of times at Balkan camp: One.
Studied at camp: I have learned new instruments like tapan, practiced singing Albanian songs and I joined almost all dance classes as my main focus. I enjoyed everything that I newly practiced in the camp and these new experiences surely fed my artistic approach and practice.
Memorable moment at camp: The camp was a fantastic experience in its entirety. Living for a week in a beautiful natural forest with no internet was tough yet emancipatory.
Because this was my first time in the camp, I did not know many people before I arrived; however, from day 0 (I mean, even before the camp started, the days during which I was trying to figure out how to go to the camp) until the very last day campers were extremely accommodating, helpful and friendly. Their kind and humble being provided a neophyte camper with the warmest environment, besides the fire set every night outside of the kitchen.
One thing that I would not forget is the deer family accompanying our drum classes and everyday life in the camp. This lovely family composed of parents and little deer kids were very curious about our studies in the camp and showing up particularly in tapan and doumbek classes. It was delightful watching them as they came and went. Their elegance, curiosity and unity as a family were sparking inspiration.