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Ali Pasha

Other Ali Pasha documents

a dance and song

From: Houston, Ron. Folk Dance Problem Solver (1987). Austin, Texas: Society of Folk Dance Historians, 1987. (With subsequent corrections.)

(AH-lee PA-sha) = General Ali


Ali Pasha. Arpa Ektim.


A true folk dancer's dance, Ali Pasa has steps also found in Serbian, Mexican, Greek, and Israeli folk dances. Count this 5/4 meter dance in 4: 1 (quick), 2 (quick), 3 (quick), 4 (slow). You may call the step changes telepathically as we do, verbally with "gec, gec" (= change, change), or with the numbers. Bora Ozkok, a Turk, choreographed this dance in 1971.


Mixed line of M and W in a circle, leader at R end. Little fingers joined at shoulder height. Persons at ends of line wave handkerchiefs in free hands.

1-16Stand there and wiggle your toes and bob your hands in time to the music. Start dancing when the singing starts.
 1. Bir (= One). Walking. Face slightly to R.
1Walk forward to R 3 steps onto: R ft, L ft, R ft (cts 1,2,3), touch L toe beside R ft, no weight (ct 4).
2Walk backward to L 3 steps onto: L ft, R ft, L ft (cts 1,2,3), touch R toe beside L ft (ct 4).
3-4= 1-2, moving into and out of circle.
5-8= 1-4.
 2. Iki (= Two). Grapevine. Remain facing center.
1Step to R onto R ft (ct 1), step behind R ft onto L ft (ct 2), step to R onto R ft (ct 3), step in front of R ft onto L ft (ct 4).
2= 1, but close L ft to R ft, no weight (ct 4).
3-4= 1-2, but with opposite footwork and direction.
5-8= 1-4.
 3. Uc (= Three). Brush and touch. Remain facing center.
1Brush R toe inward to L across L ft (ct 1), brush R toe outward to R (ct 2), step to R onto R ft (ct 3), step beside R ft onto L ft (ct 4).
2= 1.
3Step slightly forward onto R ft (ct 1), step in place onto L ft (ct 2), step beside L ft onto R ft (ct 3), touch L toe forward (ct 4).
4Step back onto L ft (ct 1), step beside L ft onto R ft (ct 2), step forward onto L ft (ct 3), close R ft to L ft, no weight (ct 4).
5-8= 1-4.
 Repeat the dance for a total of 4 times.

Note from the editor: this dance probably refers to another General Ali who also was assassinated because of mis-use of power. Apparently, Pasha is a common title, Ali a common name, and mis-use of power a common occurrence in the Ottoman empire.

In case you're curious, the title of this song refers to General Ali, the Albanian-born governor of the southwest Balkans under the Ottoman Turks in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. Ali was an exceptionally cruel vice-sultan of an exceptionally cruel empire; sort of a depraved Darth Vader. This guy was so bad that even the Sultan couldn't tolerate it and had him murdered; so bad that some historians credit resistance to his reign for eventually driving the Turks from Europe. Actually, the Turks still hold a sizable part of Greece, but you know what I mean.

The words:

Arpa ektim, biçemedim, bir düs gördüm, seçemedim.// I sowed barley, but didn't harvest, had a dream, but didn't recognize it.
Alışmışım soğuk suya issığ [dissiz?] sular içemedim.// I am used to cold water, couldn't drink water without its bite.
Üç atım var, biri binek, arkadaşlar kalkın gidek.// I have three horses, one fit for riding, come friends, let's arise and go.
Ali Paşayı vurdular yavrusuna haber verek.// They've shot General Ali, tell his relatives.
Paşa giyer iki kürkü, biri samur biri tilki.// The general wears two fur coats, one mink, the other fox.
Ali Paşayı vurdular, harab oldu Van'ın mülkü [nurdu?].//   They've shot General Ali, the wonder of Van is gone.
Karavanaya vurdular. Yüzbaşılar darıldılar.// When he asked to eat in the mess hall, the officers were offended.
Darılmayın yüzbaşılar, Ali Paşayı vurdular.//// Don't be mad, captains, General Ali has been shot.