The Kocek dancer, a dying art

Osman Celik was born in Kastamonu in northern Turkey in 1978. By day, he is a janitor, but by night, he dances for weddings or other special events as a Kocek (Male dancer dressed in traditional Turkish women’s clothing) since 1993. During wedding season in particular, Osman makes decent money to supplement his salary as a custodial worker. Kocek culture dates from the Ottoman period, which ended in 1922. During the reign of Sultan Ibrahim (1640-1648), Koceklik became an art form. They used to dance outdoors under tents set up in the squares of Istanbul’s various inns, at festivals and weddings. Nowadays, the culture is most prominent in the Mid-Black sea region cities as Kastamonu and Sinop of Turkey.