Promising Turkish Folk Dance Choreographer's Second Group of Students Debut in Raleigh, North Carolina

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'Bluestar Dance Project' Delighted the Audience and Received a Standing Ovation for an Outstanding Show at the International Festival of Raleigh.

Zeki Maviyildiz, the amazing folk dance performer, instructor and choreographer from Turkey took his 'Bluestar Dance Project' ( ) children's dance group to perform at the International Festival of Raleigh on November 5 and 6, 2005. A fast paced traditional Turkish dance from the city of Kars was performed on the grand stage by 11 Bluestar students, whose average age is nine years old. The dance, together with the music, dramatizes the story of an 18th century Turkish folk hero from the North Eastern part of Turkey.

Bluestar Dance Project is a collaborative dance program started earlier in the year with the American Turkish Association of North Carolina, bringing cultural elements from Anatolia to both Turkish and American dance students. The project aims to promote and expose Turkish culture not only in North Carolina, but throughout the US. "Project Bluestar allows me to interact directly with these youngsters, in helping them do something that can immediately build self confidence and have a positive impact in their multicultural development. You can perceive and feel the rich cultural mosaic of Anatolia in their dance figures." Zeki stated.

Maviyildiz also performed in the same festival with his Bluestar Dance Troupe, consisting of Turkish and American young adults who share his infectious enthusiasm for Turkish dance. They presented a suite of five highly energetic dances depicting a sample of the variety of colorful folklore traditions existing throughout Turkey.

As a folk dance performer, Maviyildiz has traveled throughout the world to more than 25 countries as part of the Turkish National Folk Dance Troupe. Since deciding to pursue his studies and passion for the development of Turkish performing arts in the US, Zeki has been showcasing his talents at various events held by the Assembly of Turkish American Turkish Associations in Washington, D.C. and the American Turkish Associations of North Carolina and Michigan. Most recently he has performed at the International Festivals of Raleigh and Charlotte, and the Turkish Festival of 2005 in Washington, D.C.

Maviyildiz has appeared in numerous performances in the Raleigh area, demonstrating that his talents encompass a wide variety of dance forms. He has danced with the Broadway Dance Project ( of Raleigh as well as Carlotta Santana's Spanish Flamenco dance school ( in Durham, North Carolina. Zeki is an invited member of the Duke University Ballroom Dance Team. On April 1 and 3, 2005, he danced in "The Merry Widow" (, performance by the Opera Company of North Carolina. He is also a regular performer with the local Polish, Bulgarian and Romanian folklore troupes.

Zeki's passionate interpretation of modern music coupled with original forms of Anatolian dances helps to foster cultural awareness and reinforces diversity, pluralism and citizen diplomacy through community service. In addition to participation in folk dance workshops at Asheville, NC and Harrisburg, PA, Maviyildiz has also performed with his Bluestar Dance group at fund raisers for the Bridge to Turkiye Fund ( ) and Cornucopia House, a cancer patient support organization (

Maviyildiz first came to Folkmoot USA in Waynesville, NC, where he performed there with a dance troupe from Turkey. He is currently enrolled at Wake Tech Community College studying English on an educational scholarship from the American Turkish Association of North Carolina ( ) with generous support from members of the Raleigh and Chapel Hill International Folk Dance Groups and the Turkish-American community members.


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Burak Y Fenercioglu
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