‘A life without dancing is a not worth living’, so we’ve added many easy-to-learn and practice dance workshops with group activities in the festival programme.

Our many dance performers and workshop facilitators will be ready to help, guide and invite us into a series of performances and activities across the squares of the villages of Kastro, Gliki, Aya Teodoroi and Shinudi.

ON SEPTEMBER 8-10 2023

European Folk Dances

Balfolk Dances

Balfolk is an umbrella term that brings together many dances from various countries and regions of Europe. First used as a term in the 70s, it has spread to many countries in Europe with the increasing interest in these dances and music. Balfolk includes dances from many different countries and regions, and naturally creates a platform for cultural interactions. The variety of dances, from simple to difficult, from couple to group, from slow to fast, allows everyone to find a place for themselves. Balfolk dances have been practised in Istanbul since September 2015. Various workshops, dance nights and festivals are held by the organisation of the Balfolkist group.

Dance is a reflection of the culture and the country and Balfolk mirrors these cultural differences between countries. One of these differences can be observed in Italy. Italy is one of the countries where Balfolk culture is most prevalent, and events are held in public squares and parks under the name Mazurka Klandestina. Klandestina means “meeting and gathering in secret” in Italian. The squares that do and should belong to the public are used by the people in the best possible way.

During the festival, we will perform Balfolk dances in the squares of different villages of Imvros and make our presence felt.

You will have the opportunity to learn group dances at the Balfolk Dance workshops.

The workshop will be held by
Esra Hızır and Simge Demiral.

Credit: Songcatcher Ethnomusicology Channel

Traditional Greek Dances

Although Sirtaki is one of the first dances that everyone knows when it comes to Greek dances, there are various dances with different music and movements in Greek culture. These dances reveal varieties in different islands and mainland regions, and public events that are full of music and dance create a platform to unify people. In the workshop, we will learn  Zonaradikos, Fisuni, Sirto and Tamzara.

The workshop will be held by
Olcay Arat

Dance has been a nonverbal language based on movement as a means of communication, interaction and relationship.

Folk dance is a special area that reflects, shows and includes the characteristics of societies and cultures, and brings people together by naturally creating a spirit of community.

Dance Facilitators


Esra learned Balfolk (European Folk Dances) in Ljubljana, Slovenia, where she went 8 years ago for Erasmus and participated in many workshops, festivals and events. As someone who noticed the therapeutic and transformative effect of dance on herself, after coming back to Turkey, she shared the dances she knew with people in Istanbul. And she started to experience this pleasure with the community. She still continues to organize various events and workshops under the Balfolkist community. She works as a therapist who believes in the power of dance, art and play. She will give Balfolk Dances workshops with Simge Demiral at the festival.


Simge has been working as a freelance translator more than 7 years. She has experience in publishing, guidance in cultural and sports events and copywriting. After meeting with Balfolk Dances in a workshop, dance became an ambition and integral part of her life. While she has been translating wherever she could, she has started to dance wherever she could. Simge will give Balfolk Dances workshops with Esra Hızır at the festival.


Olcay's dance journey began in childhood, becoming an integral part of her life. She found profound passion in dance, experiencing its unifying and transformative effects. Actively participating in festivals, events, and workshops worldwide, she trained in diverse folk dances, including Turkish and Greek styles. A devoted advocate of folk dance, Olcay managed various associations promoting traditional dances. Starting in Istanbul, she taught private and group lessons and now shares her love for dance on Imvros/Gökçeada island. For 12 years, Olcay imparts her expertise not only in educational institutions but also within the heart of the community.

Get ready for a refreshing and inspiring experience at Imvros Island.