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Didem, known by many as the belly dancer of Ibo Show, raised much curiosity due to the talk-ban issued on her by Ibrahim Tatlises. Widely known by her smile while dancing, contrary to the serious expression worn by many others, Didem decided to breach the talk-ban and answered many questions about her for Yeni Aktuel Magazine.
I was born in 1986 in Gaziosmanpasa. Since I was raised in Kustepe, I'd rather say I'm from Kustepe (neighborhoods of Istanbul, t.n.) I have a brother and a sister. We are 'Romans' (oftentimes, 'Roman' people were attributed extraordinary talent in belly dancing and performing music for it, t.n.); mother immigrated from Saloniki, father from Yugoslavia. I spent all my childhood in Roman district, where we still live. I dropped out at my third year in primary school, then began dancing. I needed to work, but I loved dancing too much. Everywhere in our house are mirrors. Sometimes I dance for 24 hours on a stretch. When I feel like it, I turn the music on and begin dancing.
Also, there's this Roman tradition; they put cymbals under a newborn daughter's pillow so she becomes a belly dancer when she grows up.
I can't say I had a very happy childhood. I always wanted a bike but never had one due to financial reasons. I dropped out on my own decision, not my family's. I was a successful student except for maths. But I still want to study. I decided to complete my education. I'll even get a university degree.
Dancing talent runs in my family. My mother, Tulay, is a belly dancer as well. My father is the drummer Zeki Kinali. My grandfather is a retired ud (a kind of lute in Turkish Classical music) artist. My sister sings in weddings. My mother only taught me how to play cymbals. But I remember very well when my mother used to dance for extra pay; I used to hold onto her skirt. Then, I used to climb onto a table, dancing there while she danced on the stage.
I was very enthusiastic about belly dancing. When my teacher asked me what would I be when I grew up, I always answered 'belly dancer'. But I couldn't dance this well if I weren't a Roman. I'm proud of being one.
In wedding ceremonies, they called me to dance. Since my body is very flexible, my nickname was 'rubber-girl'. Now they call me 'Ibrahim's Belly-Dancer'
I met Sema Yildiz, a belly-dance instructor. 'Let's find you a stage' she suggested. I was 13 or 14 years old then. I got transferred from the night clubs of Avcilar to touristic venues in Taksim. I used to dance in 7 or 8 different venues in one night.
I danced at the wedding ceremony of a wedding contest TV show. Some people who watched me then, mentioned about me later. Mr. Ibrahim told them to find me and call me. His agent, Eyup Kanat, contacted me. When he said Mr. Ibrahim wanted to talk to me,
I thought someone was pulling a joke on me. When we met, .I was very excited and drenched in cold sweat. All of a sudden, I found myself in Ibo Show. I stand witness to how a person's life changes in one day. What I was yesterday, what I am today, what I will be tomorrow...
I feel like the Snow White. Thank God. Thank God first, then thank Mr. Ibrahim. He is a person whose hands are to be kissed (an expression of respect and gratitude in Turkish culture; t.n.) In fact, even his feet can be kissed (an EXTREME form of expressing gratitude; t.n.) He's a boss who possesses and protects. I'm under protection even if I go to the other end of the world.
I never thought of working for him but I dreamt of it. I used to loathe myself as nobody noticed me. When I went up on stage, audience used to talk to each other, never bothered to look at me. I used to close my eyes and say to myself: 'Help me, God, to take the stage in a beautiful place, where everyone would watch and applause me'
'It's hard not to talk' I try to distinguish my style from those of other belly dancers. I want to do Cha-Cha or Samba on the stage. I want to dance to the tunes of Indian music. My favorite is artistic gymnastics. Who knows, maybe if I did not drop out, I would be a gymnast one day.
Mr. Ibrahim issued a talk-ban on me as he wanted the people to remember me by my dancing. In fact, it was good for me. Everybody was curious about me, asking 'Who's this girl, where's she from, who are her parents?'. When I went to Germany, people asked me if I was a deaf-mute. It's really hard not to talk at all. People rumoured about me, saying 'She can't speak Turkish, nor has she any manners'. I asked for Mr. Ibrahim's permission to prove them wrong, he kept saying 'All in good time...' [Thanks to a girl at sabah.com.tr forum for translating]
Didem is dancing on Ibo Show now on the Turkish Channel "Star TV" every Sunday at 8:00 PM Turkish time. You can watch the show online: http://www.startv.com.tr/CanliYayin.aspx
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- Status: Single
- Zodiac Sign: Scorpio