Mehpare Pam Askin (Executive Director)
She is currently coordinator, dancer, instructor, and works on stage improvisation based on authentic steps for Yore Folk Dance Ensemble.
She started her dance career with ballet at an early age and continues Turkish folk dance and folk song chorus throughout the school years. She had a short vocal education from Ruhi Su and joined Dostlar chorus. She completed two years certification course in Turkish Folk Dance Ensemble given by Department of National Education (Milli Egitim Bakanligi Türk Folklor Kurumu). She represented her country in many national and international Folk festivals and auditions. She always wanted to organize a Turkish folk dance production which will be recognized by a wider audience. She graduated with a BS degree from State Academy of Fine Arts as an Architectural Interior Designer. Currently she is focusing on Turkish Folk Dance, and honored to be part of Yöre.
Ozan Anac (Dance Instructor)
Ozan was born in Burdur, Turkey. As all of the sons of Aegan region of Turkey, started folk dancing in traditional wedding ceremonies at early ages. Later on in high school, learned dances of several regions of Turkey. In college years, he joined ODTU –THBT ( METU – Turkish Folklore Society) and took part in folk dancing performances. Morever, he was one of the dancers of AFTUD, well known Turkish Folk Dance Company. He was also a part of ODTU Esli Danslar Toplulugu (METU Couple Dances Club) and performed in annual exhibitions and competed in various national dancesport competitions. Ozan, came U.S in 2006 for a M.S. degree in UC Irvine. After having his degree he moved to San Jose and currently working in Invensense Inc. as a MEMS engineer. He joined Yore in 2009, and is so excited to be a part of it.
Umut Sengezer (Guest Instructor)
Umut was born in Izmir, Turkey (a beautiful coastal town). He has been dancing since the age of 13. From early ages of his dancing, groups that he performed with have been awarded multiple times the first prize in national dance competitions. His dance portfolio covers all seven regions of Turkey with multiple cities. He has been a dance instructor since high school days. He was admitted to the renown Academy of Dance and Music of Turkey in the first place. While studying there, he produced the staging of national dance performances and received various medals and honors from those. Upon graduation from the dance academy, he danced in the most prestigious dance group of Turkey, named Sultans of the Dance for a while. He currently lives in Philadelphia and is pursuing to get his undergraduate degree.
Ebru Atac (Guest Instructor)
Born in Tekirdag, Turkey, Ebru graduated from the Academy of Dance and Music at Istanbul Technical University. Upon graduation, she was selected to the lead dancer of Sultans of the Dance, the most prestigious dance group in Turkey. Later, she became the Art Director of another well-respected dance group, named Night of the Sultans. She represented Turkey in various dance events and performances in multiple continents. She performed live dancing in television shows. Her dance passion translated into teaching others how to dance in her own studio, where she produced and staged successful performances with her students. She moved to the USA 10 months ago and currently lives in Philadelphia.
2010 Dancers (In Alphabetical Order)
Born in Izmir, Turkey, Banu received her Master’s degree in Microbiology and Molecular Biology from San Jose State University, 2009. She joined Yore in 2009. She likes to watch TV, play tennis, practice Yoga and meditation in her free time. She loves all aspects of Turkish culture, especially dancing with Yore.
Deniz is currently a UC Davis student and planning to major in Animal Science and Management. She has been Folk dancing ever since she was 7 years old. During her Folk dance years, she attended many auditions, festivals, and performances. She believes that Turkish Folk dancing is one of the most challenging dances because there is a lot to learn and to understand before you begin dancing. Each Regional dance has a story to tell, and you have to understand it to be able to perform this dance truly. She loves to play tennis and equestrian other than Turkish Folk Dance. Due to having her friends far from home and at college, she finds multiple ways to stay connected with them including facebook and myspace. Whenever Deniz has free time she spends time with her close friends and enjoys spending time with her folkdance family as well. She enjoys every aspect of dancing and meeting new people and cultures to gain knowledge from.
Born in Istanbul, Arif went to college in Ankara and afterward came to the U.S. for graduate school. He joined Yore in 2008 and is proud of representing his own culture thousand miles away from Turkey.
Nilden was born in Edmonton Alberta, Canada, and came to U.S. at the age of 4. She is now a high school student pursuing Archeology in Ancient Mediterranean-Near Middle Eastern Studies She has been belly dancing for four years. She has two older brothers. Although she has never been to Turkey, she is very much into her roots and loves to learn more to increase her knowledge of Turkey and its past. Out side of the dance group Nilden loves to play soccer, be with family and friends.
Emre Colak, born in Turkey, moved to Buffalo, NY for his undergraduate education at the age of eighteen. During his six years in Buffalo, he received Bachelor's and Master's degrees in computer science from SUNY Buffalo which is also where he got involved in Turkish folk dancing and took part in several regional performances. Emre joined Yore in 2008 after moving to Foster City, CA where he currently pursues a career in software engineering. Besides dancing with Yore, Emre enjoys playing volleyball, soccer and traveling in his spare time.
Born in Ankara, Turkey, Tolga is currently pursuing a PhD in Electrical Engineering, Stanford University. Being a member of the Yore Folk Dance Ensemble since 2004, he has learned and performed numerous traditional Turkish folk dances. His favorite spare-time activity is playing the piano and he is a devoted fan of classical music.
Miray Simsek Dervisoglu
Pinar Erciyas Bailey
Belly dancer, was the answer Pinar gave when, in first grade, she was first asked about what she wants to be when she grows up. Her academically oriented parents laughed and worried a bit. Her dance interests broadened over the years from Turkish folk dancing in grade and high school, to ballroom dancing during college and finally lindy hop and vintage swing dances - such as Balboa and Charleston - since she moved to San Francisco in 2000. She has taught swing dances in California and competed and performed locally and across the U.S. for many years. She enjoys doing yoga and taking a variety of dance classes to apply body movement and alignment concepts to her dancing and teaching. In Turkish folk dancing, she is most captivated by the syncopated movement that originates from the unique rhythms in Turkish music.
She is a graduate of Istanbul Lisesi and Bogazici University, currently finishing her Ph.D. thesis in Biophysics at UCSF. She enjoys cooking, gardening and good design and one day would like to be a surfer chick.
Born in Istanbul, Turkey, Ilgin is currently pursuing a PhD in Civil Engineering, at UC Berkeley. Ilgin joined the Yore Folk Dance Ensemble in 2008. She enjoys playing volleyball and travelling in her free time.
Defne Gun, a Berkeley High School student, has been dancing with Yore for about a year and loves getting more in touch with her culture. She thinks that the upbeat tempo of the music and dance moves are incredible and sometimes finds herself tapping her feet, practicing the steps in algebra class. Outside of dancing she enjoys playing soccer, spending time with family and friends and has been attempting to learn how to cook. She loves all aspects of Turkish culture, particularly its cuisine. Her favorite dish is dolma which she hopes to cook successfully one day.
Sarah first heard about Yore via Facebook while she was still stuck in Germany interning for the U.S. State Department in Leipzig in the fall of 2009. Eager to join the Turkish folk dance group in California, she found an incentive not to miss her beloved Germany as she traveled back to the U.S. Having lived in Izmir, Turkey from 1994-95, Sarah is familiar with the culture and dancing style of the Turks. She enjoys Turkish music immensely and is elated to be able to dance to this type of music with professionals. Her first performance with Yore was a Karadeniz (Black Sea) dance for the San Francisco Ethnic Dance Festival auditions in 2010, which allowed her to perform on stage for the first time in her life. The traditional costumes are fun to wear and help set the mood for dancing on stage. Sarah dreams of traveling to Turkey or possibly living there again someday. Yore has given her the chance to at least experience a part of that dream.
Gizem Elenur Isik
Gizem was born in Istanbul, Turkey. She is currently a San Francisco State student, majoring in International Business. She started to take ballet and modern dance classes in elementary school. Gizem was introduced to folk dancing during her middle school years and joined Yore in 2009. She is currently taking a jazz dancing class and some of her interests include drawing/painting, scuba diving, digital photography, skiing, international travel, reading, and hiking.
Born in Izmit, Turkey, Esra received her BS degree from Istanbul University, 2008. Currently she is planning to apply for Ph.D in economics. She has been dancing since 1999 and learned and performed various traditional Turkish folk dances. Also, she represented Turkey in numerous national and international folk dance festivals and attended many competitions. When she moved to Istanbul, she became a member of one of the most important folk dance ensembles, TFK, in Istanbul. She joined Yore in 2008 and is trying to teach what she knows about folk dances.
Born in Oklahoma, Baran grew up mostly in Dallas, Texas. Both his parents are Turkish and he has a very high interest in Turkish culture. He first saw folk dancing from his cousins who practiced and performed in Turkey. Baran graduated with a degree in computer engineering from California Polytechnic State University and is currently a software engineer in Silicon Valley.
Emine Ulku Saritas
Emine joined Yore in 2003 after seeing one of their performances at Stanford, having had no previous dancing experience herself. She enjoyed learning the steps, teaching them to the new dancers, hearing the upbeat music and absorbing more information about ethnic dancing ever since. Emine received her BS degree from Bilkent University, Ankara, Turkey in 2002. Currently a Ph.D. student in Electrical Engineering at Stanford, Emine also enjoys reading, drawing and traveling.
Demet is a member of Stanford Yore since 2003 and currently a PhD student in the Electrical Engineering Department at Stanford University.
Berrin started dancing at early ages in Istanbul. After performing modern dances for several years, her interest shifted to the ballroom dances. In 2004 she met Yore in Berkeley where she was studying. Berrin has been a dancer of Yore since 2004.
Gozde is a postdoctoral scholar at Stanford. She always had an interest in dancing. She did some salsa dance before but she had no previous experience in folk dancing. She loves the fact that Turkish folk dancing is so lively and happening. She joined Yore in 2009.
Visit History for a list of previous dancers