Yore Board Members
Dr. Eser Ayanoglu
Dr. Emine Ulku Saritas
Mehpare Pam Askin
Miray Simsek Dervisoglu
Members of the Board of Directors volunteer their time for the governing of Yore Folk Ensemble.
Existing board members would like to thank previous board members (listed below) for their outstanding
service and dedication throughout the years.
Dr. Omer Uyuklu
Dr. Eralp Bellibas
Dr. Cengiz Gulek
Dr. Ali Pinar
Below are brief resumes of some of the past and present Board Members:
Dr. Omer Uyuklu
Dr. Omer Uyuklu started dancing in high school and continued as a dancer, teacher, and choreographer at Bogazici University, Turkey. He was one of the founders and the director of Turkozu Folklore Club in Sultanahmet, Istanbul. During his years at Bogazici University Folklore Club (BUFC), he participated as a dancer, researcher and a member of the executive committee. His research on location to learn the authentic form included Bitlis and Van regions. He participated in various European Folk Festivals in Spain, France, Germany and Italy for 4 years with BUFC. Through BUFC, he was a part of the organizing group of the first International Folklore Conference that included scholars like Pertev Naili Boratav and Ilhan Basgoz, along with many others from European countries.
After moving to US, Dr. Uyuklu started teaching folk dances at San Jose State University (SJSU). When he started teaching at SJSU Anthropology Department, he used his documentary films from Turkish folklore in Ethnographic Film Making Class. Later, he formed his own group, Turkish Folklore and Tourism Club, now known as Arkadash Turkish Folk Ensemble. Arkadash started performing very actively in California, Oregon, Washington, Colorado, Texas, and Utah. The group represented Turkey at EXPO ’86 World Fair in Vancouver, Canada. Participating in San Francisco Ethnic Dance Festival auditions for 5 years in a row, Arkadash was selected 3 times to perform in the festival. The group was awarded a 3-year grant by the California Arts Council to purchase authentic costumes for every dance in their repertoire. These costumes were for Black Sea, Adiyaman and Gaziantep regions. Arkadash was awarded the “Best of the Fair-1st Place, Blue Ribbon” two years in a row at Santa Clara County International Fair for their educational – cultural, interactive displays.
Dr. Omer Uyuklu is currently the owner and Educational Director of California College of Communications in Campbell. He would like to pass on his folklore experiences to the new generations who will preserve the authenticity of the dances and music. He believes that Yore will be the best group to carry on this tradition, and he strongly supports their effort in reaching this goal.
Dr. Eser Ayanoglu
Eser Ayanoglu started performing dances soon after coming to the United States in groups such as Anatolia, Arkadash and Stanford University International Dance Ensemble. At the same time he studied international dances with special emphasis on Balkan dances in the beginning. During this period he attended international dance classes in addition to special workshops for international dance teachers and candidates.
His teaching experience started with the San Jose State University Folk Dancers with dances of Turkey, Greece and the rest of the Balkans. In the late 80's Eser Ayanoglu had a repertory of about 250 international dances including those from Ireland, France, Russia, Poland, Scandinavia, Latin America, Africa and other regions. He became a regular international dance teacher in the greater Bay Area, taught for organizations or in places including Ashkenaz, Stanford University , UC Berkeley International Dancers, United Nations and gave workshops in and out of California. During the same period Dr. Ayanoglu prepared a Turkish Dance Suite for Stanford University International Dance Ensemble, also founded and directed Minikler, a children's dance group.
In 1992 he was chosen to be the dance teacher for the worldwide "Dance on the Water" cruise trips, to teach mainly Turkish and Greek dances between Greece and Turkey. Later he founded and directed Hoyda and Art for Peace International Dance Ensembles. The latter group’s performance was filmed by the United Nations Association to be presented on United Nation anniversaries. He founded “Many Cultures, One World”, a multinational improvisational music and dance group. Dr. Ayanoglu also served in Westwind International Folk Ensemble’s Board of Directors. He was awarded by Stanford University International Center for his contributions of multicultural activities through various forms of art, including dance and music. He is currently a senior research scientist in the area of genomics, specializing on prescription drug-gene interactions.
Dr. Ayanoglu believes that the cultural and the folkloric richness of Turkey is not sufficiently recognized in the US and considers helping in this area as a mission. He also believes that Yore is a vital organization in materializing such recognition.
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.
Ezerhan, from Rize, Turkey, has been a Yore dancer since February 06. He works as an Automation/Control Engineer and has been involved with various Turkish organizations.
Mehpare Pam Askin
Mehpare Pam Askin is a native of Turkey, originally from Karaman Beyligi in Central Anatolia. She started her dance career with ballet at an early age and continues as a dancer, teacher, choreographer, and coordinator at Yore. She has been with several Turkish folk dance groups and authentic Turkish folk song chorus throughout the school years. She joined Dostlar chorus, and had a short vocal education from Ruhi Su who was a well-known opera singer and a folk musician. She worked with her mentor Mr. Celal Ozturk, Ararat region Folk Dance Researcher and Choreographer, he was awarded many years in nation-wide auditions organized by Milliyet News and Istanbul Teknik University. She completed two years certification course in Turkish Folk Dance Education given by Department of National Education ( Milli Egitim Bakanligi Turk Folklor Kurumu). After She moved to US, she danced with her mentor Taner Oztek who has specialized in Kars/ Kafkas region. She represented his country in many national and international Folk festivals and auditions. She has danced with numerous school ensembles, private associations, and participated in dance festivals and competitions. Pam organized many multi-cultural events for schools. She sponsored various Turkish folk dance groups in these events. Pam has dance experience with Ararat, Ciftetelli, Kirklareli, Kafkas, Silifke, Karadeniz, Adiyaman, Artvin, and Antep regions. She always wanted to show the authentic Turkish dance & support dancers under the same roof. Yore allows Pam to reach her goal of making folk dance recognized by a wider audience.
She volunteered for Turkish American Association for many years. She worked as an Activity Coordinator for TAAC San Mateo Chapter, and organized 23rd of April Children’s Festival 2000, worked at San Mateo Turkish festival organization as an activity coordinator. She led Ciftetelli Group, organized Turkish Vintage Clothing Fashion Show many years.
She graduated with a BS degree from State Academy of Fine Arts. Her current major is Minor in Architectural Interior Design, Major in Industrial Design. Due to her Pedagogy, and Trial Psychology courses she was awarded with a Teacher’s License, which entitles her to teach. She updated her major with CAD. Due to her design experience she is specialized at Hotel and Holiday Village design. She recently works as a designer.
Currently she is focusing on Turkish Folk Dance, and honored to be part of Yore Coordinators. Her future vision is to make Yore the best authentic Turkish folk dance group in the Bay area.
Tolga started his folk dance carrier at Turkish Radio Television Youth Folk Dance group. He joined Aftud and Hoytur, exceptionally well known Turkish folk dance companies. He instructed Hacettepe University Youth Folk Dance group in Ankara for four years. He represented Turkey in numerous national and international folk dance festivals and productions. He joined Yore in 2006 and is willing to give all his support to make Yore the top Turkish folk dance ensemble in the California.
Born in Istanbul, Gurer is as colorful a person as the city is itself. Working as an IT Engineer, he has a M.S degree in Industrial and Systems Engineering. He has been involved in many international/domestic organizations and is currently enjoying the journey back to his roots with a mist of rhythm at YORE.