Ahmet and Tracy Lüleci
Includes biographical information from Murray Spiegel
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Ahmet Lüleci, a native of Turkey, is an accomplished folkdance teacher, performer, choreographer, and musician, as well as a researcher of Anatolian folk culture. He is a pisces: emotional, creative, energetic, crazy!
His first dance experience that he remembers was when he was three years old doing the Twist at the local butcher store to get free candy. Then when I was five, his neighbor was a well known local dancer and he and Ahmet would do a duet at the local weddings to which they were invited. Then Ahmet joined the elementary school dance team. Ahmet says, "If I could go back in time, I would probably focus more on the singing and end up in Italy singing for tourists in Venice on a small bridge over the canals."
Ahmet's father had a sporting goods store that he worked at when he could, to make money.
His first college degree in Turkey was in Classical Western Music and voice was his main instrument, and his second degree in the United States (Boston) was in Fine Arts. It was the teacher's decision that he had to sing as the school system said that you do all classes and you have to have one main branch his was singing operas. After he finished college the second time, he worked as a graphic designer full time for few years and became coordinator/senior designer and art director in few years then he retired from it. Now he does design only when he wants to as a free lancer.
Ahmet's first teaching was in the company with whom he danced in Ankara since he was twelve years old (junior level). Then he was promoted to the adult level when he was fifteen and then started teaching the adults when I was sixteen years old (spoon dances). He started making money from teaching when he was in college in Turkey.
Ahmet has done field cultural research in two different regions in Turkey. From 1979 to 1985. These researches found life in two books, one of them won first prize and the other one won special mention at the national dance competition between the dance ensembles in Turkey in 1984 and 1985. He became the youngest dance director in the ensemble. He was assistant director when he was nineteen and director when he was twenty-two. The company he danced with won national competition ten years in a row.
Since his arrival in North America in 1985 at age 24, he has been promoting the Turkish folklore all over the world, to amateur as well as professional groups. After he moved to the states, at first he worked as a painter for a short while, then worked for the local government, supervising physically-challenged kids. Then dancing became his main source of income.
If the dancing hadn't work out, he could have ended up being a music teacher or gone further on graphic design, but his passion for movies would take him to trying out as a movie director. "If not," he says, "maybe even photography could be another area..."
Ahmet has been performing Turkish folk dancing and music since the age of eight. He taught several ensembles in Ankara, Istanbul, Eskisehir, and Bursa.
He has danced with numerous school ensembles and private associations, many of which won outstanding awards in city-wide and national competitions. Between 1973 and 1985 he participated in international folk dance festivals and competitions throughout western and eastern Europe.
Between 1973 and 1985, he participated in international dance festivals and competitions throughout western and eastern Europe. In addition, he taught ensembles that appeared in more than 60 programs broadcast nationally in Denmark, France, Germany, the Netherlands, and Turkey.
In 1983, Ahmet met Tracy, a talented American musician performing at the Copenhagen international folk festival. After their marriage two years later, Tracy participated in two of Ankara's best folk dance associations and performed with Ahmet. She has learned to play kemençe, kabak, kemane, kaval, and kaşik. Her music serves as a fine accompaniment to Ahmet's performances and she often performs alongside him.
Ahmet served as Director of Dances for HOY-TUR, long considered one of Turkey's leading folk dance associations.
In 1985, Ahmet's research on "The Culture in Southern Anatolia" won the first prize at the national competition held by "Youth Sport and Education Ministry." Since 1985 he has continued his work in the United States and Canada, Asia, Europe, and South America.
In 1988, Ahmet founded and became director of the Boston-based Kemençe Dance Ensemble. In 2001, the name changed to Collage International Dance Ensemble. He won seven choreography awards in different competitions with the company. As the Artistic Director of Collage, Ahmet received the Dance Umbrella Boston Moves 2001 Award, a commission to create a world-premiere work for Boston audiences. His son danced in Collage and they performed on stage together when the boy was ten years old.
Ahmet choreographed a dance suite for the Brigham Young University International Folk Dance Ensemble and had the troupe's costumes specially made and shipped from Turkey. Some of the other notable perofrming ensembles with which he has worked include the famed AMAN Folk Ensemble of Los Angeles (in 1991, Ahmet joined AMAN's artistic staff as resident choreographer), Mandala of Boston, Massachusetts, Komenka of New Orleans, Louisiana, Tamzara of Boston, Massachusetts, Les Sortilèges of Montréal, Canada, Vinok of Edmonton, Canada, Omega of Honolulu, Hawaii, Tam ti Delam of Sept-Îles, Canada, and Kineskamie of Baie-Commeau, Canada. In his native Turkey, he has coreographed for Hoy-Tur, Tur-Hoy, and Gehem of Ankara, Anadolu Universitesi of Eskisehir, Butfod of Bursa, and Folkrur of İstanbul.
Baglama and davul are the folk instruments Ahmet most enjoys playing. Indeed, his college major was music, with specialization in voice. Ahmet's love of folksongs and fascination with folk dance led him to conduct scholarly research into the historical, social, and cultural background of the costumes and spoon dances from Turkey's Mediterranean coast. In 1997, Ahmet completed a second degree in Fine Arts, specializing in Graphic Design.
Ahmet has taught a the major folk dance camps in the United States and Canada, including the San Francisco Kolo Festival and the Stockton Folk Dance Camp in California, and continues to teach workshops throughout the United States from his home-base in Boston, Massachusetts. He has taught workshops and camps in Japan, Holland, and Germany, and says, "I have taught in 5 1/2 continents."
Ahmet is co-founder and co-director of the annual World Music & Dance Camp at Cape Cod, Massachussetts.
Among Ahmet's publications are an exhaustive, 400-page folklore study on the folkdances of Turkey for which he was awarded First Place in the 1985 national competition in research on the folk dances by the Turkish Ministry of Youth, Sports, and Education.
Dances Ahmet has taught include Acara Kı Horonu, Ağir Gövenk, Ağir Halay, Ağri, Ali Paşa, Arap, Arzu İle Kamber-Garaguna (Silivri), Başina Dödügüm, Basso, Bablekhan, Berde, Çamasirci Kiz, Canım Lerik, Čaya Vardim Zeybegi, Cilveli Oy, Çimençiçek, Cemo, Çimençiçek, Cirane-Lorke, Dambaşi, Delile, Döney, Duz Halay, Drida, Enzele Reksi, Eyiya, Felek, Galamatia, Gayda (Arnavut), Geresunda Kayiklar, Güktepe - Degirmen, Goltepe, Gozeli, Gudi, Gülsüm, Güvercin, Güvercin - Uzun Kavak, Hanım Ayşe - Eski Kasap, Harputlu, Hey Cane, Heyamo, Him Hime, Hir Hir, Horon Teperum, Hoy Memo, Hozanki, İspanyol Kasabı, İzzet Hoca, Kalenin Dibinde, Kara Tren, Kara Üzüm, Karadeniz, Karşilama, Kelekvan, Kerekes Héjsza, Kina, Kırıkcan, Kulaksız, Laçin, Livan Oy, Marmara, Men Gülem, Mendil, Meryem Ana, Meyroke, Mum Yakta Ara, Nare, Narino, Naz Can, Oropa, Ordu, Oğuzlu, Papatya, Pestemal, Rakkas, Rapatma, Roman, Şamatya, Şaşkin, Şavşat Barı, Sevda Horonu, Şevgo, Siksara, Şinanarı, Süsli Xanim, Teke Zortlatması, Teşi-Düz-Halay, Timbilli, Urfalıyam Ezelden, Uzun Kavak, Uzundere (Sahlan), Versun Davullar, Yengecan, and Yeni Hamam.