How to do the turk dance

Here's a Step-by-Step Breakdown of Donald Faison's Scrubs Dance!

Nine years after the series finale of Scrubs, there are still moments of the comedy that stand out in fans' minds. One of those moments was Dr. Christopher Turk's audition for The Cool Cats — an air band formed by the Janitor and Ted. The band was holding auditions, and Turk was definitely not impressed by Dr. Todd, who was hoping to be the lead vocalist.

Cue Bell Biv DeVoe's hit single "Poison" and Turk's impressive dance moves, which included a Michael Jackson high kick, the running man, and of course, his signature swag. All that was missing was a with his BFF J.D. and it would've been perfect. In the words of the Janitor, "I don't know what 'it' is, but he's got it… He's so damn talented."

In the episode titled, "My Half-Acre," The Cool Cats almost don't get to perform when Turk mocks Dr. Kelso, who retaliates by banning air banding in the hospital. However, by the end of the show, Turk, the Janitor and the rest of the guys are rocking to "More Than A Feeling" by Boston.

More recently, Donald Faison, who played Turk, reprised his "Poison" dance on The Queen Latifah Show and fans were loving it. Oh, and his moves were so iconic they were also featured on the popular video game Fortnite and it's known as the "basic dance" on the platform.

In honor of Donald's birthday month, we are breaking down his "Poison" dance — keep scrolling for the step-by-step instruction to channel your inner Turk:

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Step 1

The shoulder pop: get into character by popping your shoulders as the intro of Bell Biv DeVoe's "That Girl Is Poison" kicks off.

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Step 2

The King of Pop: Follow that up with a homage to Michael Jackson himself, which requires you to bit your lip while simultaneously kicking and pointing your right finger at the same time.

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Step 3:

The Running Man: Next, you break into the running man — but this is Turk we're talking about, so it's not your average running man. Make sure to cross your legs and clap before putting on your imaginary sweater. By this time, the lyrics of the song should be just beginning.

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Step 4:

The Point: Continue your running man but take a moment to point at your audience and then at yourself. After that, make sure to transition from the running man to a knee pop.

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Step 5:

Strike a pose: The running man can be tiring so take a moment to cross your arms and strike a pose for your audience.

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Step 6

Slide and Dip: Still catching your breath? No worries! After striking a pose, spread out your arms and legs and swag and surf.

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Step 7

Running Man (Again): Break out into the iconic dance move once again, but don't forget to cross your feet and point to your head for that touch of Turk.

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Step 8

The Shimmy: Transition from the running man into the shimmy. This move might take a bit of practice.

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Step 9:

Check the time: This move is pretty self-explanatory. Just make sure you're wearing a watch. Rookie move, Turk.

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Step 10

Saturday Night Fever: Channel your inner John Travolta before doing a couple of free kicks.

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Step 11

Sidestep: Do a little turn, clap your hands, and then proceed to kick your legs from side-to-side to the beat.

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Step 12

Pose: End the dance by crossing your arms and adding a touch of spirit-fingers-meets-tada.

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Step 12

Soak in the glory. In the words of Glen, aka the Janitor, "I don't know what 'it' is, but he's got it."

Meet the 916 Crew Choreographers: Summer & Keith Turk

How excited are you about working with the King to develop this new dance team?

Summer: I'm super excited. I danced with the Kings years ago, so this is a full circle idea for me. I was on the court and now behind the scenes and I'm so excited.

Keith: I'm extremely excited to develop a new team with the Kings, especially with it being gender inclusive. We're going to have a lot of fun. We're going to be able to open this box up to a whole different style of entertainment.

How cool is it that this team is gender inclusive?

Summer: You can do so much more with guys and girls. The dynamic of dance and choreography is going to be even better.

Keith: You know, what I think is really cool. I just recently performed with the Kings, and we shut it down! It was a lot of fun! I had a great time. I was terrified at first but then I was like, you know what this would be really cool if they had boys and then “bam!”

What kind of dance traits are you looking for in a potential member?

Summer: Well, it's hip-hop based but we kind of want to see everything! If you can do anything Jazz, elements of contemporary, elements of breakdance anything that will bring to the entertainment value of the team!

Keith: What I look for is fall-out energy, great character, responsibility, practicing when we're not looking, and maturity. I like souls. Good, fun souls.

What would you say is your choreography style?

Summer: My style my style is kind of sassy and then kind of hood at the same time.

Keith: I am a hip-hop, jazz-dancing, acrobat circus kid. I was in the circus, so I'm very theatrical. I like a lot of character. I like a lot of suspense, surprise and I like a lot of big movement.

Who inspired you?

Summer: Wow, my biggest inspiration had to be my mom for one and then Debbie Allen.

Keith: My teacher back home, named Eileen Moffitt. She poured a lot into me. My grandmother who paid for me to do any and everything I wanted to do. And then my wife. My wife was my teacher.

What are the best shoes to rock while your dancing?

Keith: Balenciaga’s baby!

What is your dance background?

Summer: Well, I'm going to give away my age, but I've been dancing for over 20 plus years. I've been training in ballet over 10 years. I had scholarships to Alvin Ailey I dance in New York, video work and tour work - a lot of stuff.

What is your process for designing choreography for these upcoming auditions?

Keith: I literally stand there and look at the people and go, “here we go.” I like to freestyle off of the top of my head, because you get a better vibe with the people.

Sometimes, you can come up with the best choreography, but it won't look good on set, so I like to see what we got going on. I’ve just been doing it so long now I can just choreograph on the spot.

What is your most memorable dance experience?

Summer: Oh my gosh. It had to be the NBA All-Star Game back in 2000. We got the chance to dance with LL Cool J, and that was amazing.

What makes KAST Academy of the Arts unique?

Keith: Honestly, there isn't a lot of African American Studios in the city, let alone the country. We have a wide variety of colors and shapes and sizes. They win, they work hard, and every year we do a different style. One year we will do Bollywood, salsa, bachata or traditional African dance. All the kids just love the diversity that we bring to the table.

Dervish dance - description and video

  • Dervish dance what is it?
  • Whirling Mevlevi Dervishes
  • Dervish
  • What does the dance of the dervishes mean
  • Turkish Dervish Dance
  • Where to watch Dervish dance in Istanbul
  • Dervish dance at Sirkeci station
  • Dervish dance in Khojapasha
  • Dervish dance video
  • Attraction map

Dervish dance is an unusual act that attracts tourists who come to Istanbul. You probably won't see this anywhere else. The dance of the dervishes is also called Sama or Sema. It is accompanied by singing, reading poetry, prayers and playing national musical instruments. By the way, the dervish dance is included in the UNESCO list of intangible cultural heritage.

In order to watch the dervish dance with pleasure and understanding, it is worth turning a little to history.

Dervish dance

Dervish dance what is it?

The Dervish Dance is a meditative dance that used to be a religious ritual. Dervish dance is associated with the history of the Mevlevi Sufi Order.

Whirling Mevlevi Dervishes

Mevlevi is a famous Sufi tariqat that originated in the 13th century in Turkey. Sufism is a mystical movement in Islam that preaches asceticism and increased spirituality. And tarikat is a method of spiritual elevation and mystical knowledge of the Truth. The founder of the ideas was the Sufi poet Jalaladdin Rumi, and his son Mavlad became the founder of the order. nine0025

Mevlevi was the most powerful order in Ottoman Turkey. It was called "The Brotherhood of the Spinning Dervishes". In 1925, the Mevlevi brotherhood was abolished by a decree of President Atatürk. It was allowed again only in 1954.

The religious side of Mevlevi attaches great importance to music, song and dance. The dance performed by whirling dervishes is one such ritual.



To answer the question of who the dervishes are, one should plunge into history. In essence, a dervish is a Muslim monk who shares the philosophy of Sufism. But unlike traditional monks, dervishes could get married and have their own house. Although for the most part they led a fairly ascetic lifestyle. nine0025

Dervishes were both wandering and settled - living in monasteries and monasteries. But before being called a dervish, a novice had to pass a probationary period in the brotherhood.

Only dervishes could perform the dance. Before being allowed to perform a ritual dance, a novice had to serve in a monastery for three years: the first year was devoted to service in the name of others, the second - in the name of God, the third - for the benefit of his soul and its improvement. After this trial period of 1000 days, the novice was accepted into the brotherhood, and he received the status of a dervish. nine0025

Attire of Mevlevi adepts traditionally consists of a conical cap made of felt, a long white shirt, a wide belt and a black wool cape. Dervishes perform the dance in wide skirts - jaluns.

The clothes of the performers are symbolic. The white color symbolizes the funeral shroud and shroud, the headdresses are a kind of tombstones. All together - this is the transition from the world of real life to the world of the eternally living near God.

Suf means wool or woolen cloak. Perhaps that is also why the Sufis chose such clothes. nine0041

Dervish dance in Istanbul

What does the dervish dance mean

There are several varieties of dervish dance.

The first variation is a single dance. The dancer rotates around its axis, standing on one leg, and the second periodically pushing off, gives itself acceleration. One of his hands is lowered down, symbolizing the connection with the earth and reality, the other is turned up, to God, from where the dervish draws energy, support and faith.

There is also a group dance with several dancers. One of them is in the center, while the others circle around it, creating a round dance. The movement of the dervishes in a circle begins slowly, with a gradual acceleration. This shows the constant rapid movement of life and the world around unshakable values. Each participant in the collective dance, due to the constant rotation of the surrounding picture, losing the clarity of the outlines of objects, gradually enters a meditative trance and enjoys a feeling of detachment and euphoria. nine0025

The dance of the dervishes, subject to special rhythms, is aimed at releasing consciousness, removing blocks and complexes, opening internal resources for further enlightened life.

The constant rotations in the dance helped the dervishes to move away from extraneous thoughts, to free the brain from thoughts, doubts and everything oppressive. And trust only the call of the heart and God. According to legend, if the dervish has even one thought during the dance, the skirt will fall.

Dervish dance - throat singing

How the Turkish dervish dance goes

Before the start of the ritual, the floor is covered with sheepskin, determining the place of the sheikh - the spiritual master. This is a kind of ritual Sufi throne.

The ritual begins with the throat singing of the soloist or the whole ensemble, accompanied by the playing of national musical instruments.

After reading Rumi's prayers and poems, the dance itself begins. First, in turn, moving around the perimeter of the hall, the dervishes go around several circles and, stopping at the skin, bow to each other, greeting each other and the Almighty. After the dervishes take their starting places, they go through several dance "salutes" or acts. nine0025

The dervishes are moving around the hall, gradually unwinding, more and more plunging into a meditative trance. In the center of the dance action is the sheikh - the mentor of the dervishes. It is easily recognizable by its special cap, usually green. The dance is accompanied by the sounds of a flute and beats of a tambourine. The ritual ends with a general reading of the prayer.

Where to watch the dervish dance in Istanbul

Due to its mysticism and mesmerizing beauty, the dervish dance has become not only ritual, but also artistic. Currently, it is performed on stage not only by real monks, but also by trained dancers. Although, at the annual festival of dervishes in the Turkish city of Konya, where the mausoleum of Rumi is located, you can also see real Sufis performing this dance according to all the canons. nine0025

Please note that the dervish dance is a meditative ritual. You have to be prepared for the fact that whirling to monotonous music will not produce the same wow effect on you as from an incendiary show.

There are several places in Istanbul where you can watch a dervish dance.

Dervish Dance at Sirkeci Train Station

To see the Turkish Dervish dancing, the cheapest and easiest way is to go to the Sirkeci Train Station near Galata Bridge and Hagia Sophia. This station was the terminus of the "Orient Express" - the train, famous for the detective Agatha Christie. nine0025

The old building now houses a free railway museum. And in the main hall with colored stained-glass windows you can watch the bewitching dance of the dervishes.

Istanbul Sirkeci Station

Performances are held daily at 19:30. Tickets can be bought from the cashier at the entrance to the hall in advance or immediately before the session. The ticket price is 70 Turkish lira. The duration of action is about an hour.

Spectators sit on chairs around the perimeter of the hall. In the season they put two, three, or even four rows. Arrive early to choose the most convenient viewing spot. All spectators are treated to tea before the start of the performance. nine0025

Dervish dance in Hodjapasha

The most striking performance is shown at the Hodjapasha Cultural and Art Center. It is housed in a 15th-century hammam, close to Sirkeci Station. In the hall under the high domed ceilings, you will witness the Sema Ceremony with whirling dervishes and a light show.

Duration 1 hour. Start daily at 19:00. This performance is almost twice as expensive as at Sirkeci Station. The price of an adult ticket is $22, for children from 7 to 12 years old - $16, for children under 6 years old - free of charge. The ticket price includes a visit to a small exhibition of dervishes (clothes, musical instruments, books, reconstructed scenes from the life of dervishes, multimedia stands). nine0025

Tickets can be purchased at

Organizers recommend arriving early, 30 minutes before the start. Here, too, free tea is served before the session. If you are late for 10 minutes, then you can still enter the hall, but 15 minutes after the start of the performance, entry into the hall is prohibited. Ticket price will not be refunded for latecomers.

These performances most correspond to the ancient ritual. But in Istanbul, you can see the dervish dance in restaurants and cafes, where professional artists perform small excerpts, presenting the dance as one of the symbols of Turkey. nine0041

Dervish dance video

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Turkish folk dance - traditions in motion

The history of Turkish folk dance has its roots in the distant past and is the result of the interaction of a large number of cultures and traditions of different peoples who lived in the same territory in ancient times. The dances are very different depending on the region where they are danced. nine0025

Today, Turkish folk dances are performed at weddings, family events, festivals, as well as religious and state holidays. Sometimes, in a skillfully performed dance, thanks to the body language and professional movements of the performer, the story of a lifetime can be told.

Belly dance

Turkish belly dance originates in the East. During the reign of the Ottoman Empire, this dance was widespread and performed not only by women, but also by men. In ancient times, there were associations of male dancers who dressed in women's skirts or trousers and performed a passionate belly dance. The musical accompaniment for the dance is the rhythmic sounds of the clarinet, oboe, cymbals and drums. The artistic and defiant manner of performing the dance, most likely, is the competition in the harems of the Ottoman Empire, when this dance was born. Now belly dance is performed by girls in beautiful bright outfits that emphasize their perfect figure. nine0025

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Dervish dance

Even those who have never been to Turkey have seen the dance of dervishes, which rotate to the mesmerizing music. Initially, the dance was a ritual rite performed by members of the Sufi order. Now professional dancers dressed in traditional dervish costumes are dancing: a hat in the form of a cap of a cylindrical shape symbolizes a tombstone, a white costume with a long skirt means a shroud, and a black cape in which the performers go on stage and take off during the climax of the dance is a symbol of graves. The dance is a truly impressive spectacle. nine0025


During the Ottoman Empire, the word Zaybek was used to refer to police units. The word itself is translated as "brother", "friend". This dance is considered to be a Turkish dance for men. The first part of the dance is called "walk" - men walk slowly and proudly to the music. When the music gets louder and more active, the main part begins, accompanied by shouts. The main movements are squats and turns. Zaibek is performed to the drum and flute. Also, dancers can accompany the movements with the sound of wooden spoons to the beat of the main music. nine0025

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This is a dance that no celebration can do without. Turkish folk dance Halay is considered one of the most beautiful. The name comes from a word meaning unity, contact. The dance is somewhat reminiscent of a round dance. The dancers first stand in a row, and then form a circle. Traditionally, the dance is performed to the accompaniment of a drum and flute. The leading dancer in the line has a bright scarf in his hands, which he waves to the beat of the sounding music. nine0025


The Turkish folk dance Horon is typical for the regions along the Black Sea. Its name literally translates as "dance". The horon is accompanied by active music and cheerful songs. During the performance, the dancers line up or form a circle. The main movements are the work of the shoulders, bending the body, lowering to the knees and active swings with the legs forward.

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A large group of Turkish folk dances that were common in the Eastern part of Turkey, united under the name Bar. During the performance, people stand in a row, touching each other with their shoulders and holding hands. As a rule, the dance is accompanied by instrumental playing and singing. Some parts of the dance are performed by two people, in which case they hold hands, but most often a large number of men and women participate in it. nine0025

Spoon dance

This type of dance is widespread in the south of the country. The dancers stand in two rows and set a rhythm for themselves, knocking one against the other with wooden spoons.

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