Many centuries ago, the Horon dance originated in the region of Black Sea; today, it comes under the domain of Turkey. The dance was first noticed by the Tremoulo movement and it is believed that the Persians connected themselves with the Greeks by trading through sea routes. This is how the Turks exposed themselves to this ancient dance form. Although there is no sufficient factual information about whether it came at the hands of the merchants or the migrating troops, it is assumed that the Turks added their own twist to this classic dance and made it a prominent part of their culture. In addition to this, the Horon is believed to have a tight relation to a Georgian dance Khorumi which originated in Adjara located in the south–western region of Georgia at the Black Sea coast. Horon is a dance style which resembles the Pontus and is considered to be one of the national dances of Turkey.
Horon is performed by making a circle, a semi–circle or a row. The dancer who leads the row is called ‘cavus’. These dances are significantly characterized by alert, tense, shivering movements, the trembling of the entire body from head to foot or sudden sharp kneeling and springing up with a rebound, bending or bowing to the front, throwing the legs in front and kneeling down. Since most of the inhabitants of this area are fishermen, the rough sea vibrations shape their movements and rhythms. A number of steps and movements of the Horon dance are physically demanding, especially since they are often done in a quick succession.
Horon dances have a rhythm beat of 5, 7 and 9. The person who plays and sings is usually the same. Usually the Kemenceci or fiddler is kept up by an ever increasing tempo who stomps the beat with his foot as he plays or by the zurna and duval players working together. The folk songs of the Horon dance are rather witty. In terms of their formation of tempo, rhythm and measure, Horons appear different from the folk dances in other parts of the country. Generally, Horons are performed with a characteristic measure of 7/16. It is very difficult to render them with every instrument as their melodies are rendered very fast. A small type of zurna called the ‘cura’ and bagpipe is used to perform the melodies of Horon.
There are various types of Horon dances. A few of them include:
- Omal: It signifies the ‘quiet and typical one’ in Turkish duz Horon.
- Tik: In Turkish dik, it means from ‘perpendicular’.
- Argon: It signifies the ‘moderate one’.
- Tromakton: In Turkish titreme horonu, it signifies ‘the wild one’.
- So gonaton: It signifies ‘on the knee’.
- Langefton: It basically signifies ‘the bounced, jumped one’.
One of the interesting features to note of the Horon dance is that the women’s Horon dances are just as quick as those of men and involve many transitions between challenging movements along with a virtually constant shoulder shimmy. The dance is often referred to as ‘comfortable Horon or rahat’ when men and women perform together. Usually the dancers stand comfortable apart from one another clasping fingers and extending their arms just below or above their shoulder height. However, at other times, one can see their bodies close together with arms at their sides or bent at the elbows.