Interview by Gabrielle and Yohannes

Interview part one

Interview part two

Interviewee: Taner

Translator: Levant



We have some questions we wanted to ask you. Firstly how long have you been dancing?

He started when he was 8 but professionally it’s been about 8 years.

And how old are you if you don’t mind me asking?

He’s 31

And so tell me a bit about your story before dancing professionally and how you met Aakash?

He started in elementary school dancing like his interest in dancing started in elementary school like the folk dances.. He started with folk dances in Turkey. First, it wasn’t like him saying like I wanna dance but like the teacher said like you you you you guys are gonna be in the folk dancing group and then he went to the competitions with his school. Until high school and then he danced during high school he was getting ready to enter college he was preparing for the SATs he wanted to be an architect but then he ended up still going to the college for dance and then he was in one of the colleges one of the very prominent colleges in turkey in istanbul in their conservatory for the folk dances that’s one of the ones that is hard to get in okay so he didn’t complete it because the way they were teaching and the way he wanted to practice dancing didn’t work out so he left college before he graduated. Yea it turned out the be like the system the way they were teaching because it was more like they were concentrated on the musical element of the dancing as opposed to the dancing element of dancing so he it didn’t match with what his desire was so that’s why he just figured it was not the best way for him to do it. And then he went to the other college St Jose in Istanbul and then he started studying modern dance as opposed to folk dance.

And how did you meet Aakash?

Aakash came for a workshop at his college while he was dancing five years ago. that was the first time like they met but then after that like they didn’t stay in touch until. Aakash showed some interest in like wanting to work together with them and then years later like five years later I guess and then through another one of the dancers and then theY invited Taner to. The others have been working with Aakash for the last two years. Yea he had another like he had two other dancers korean but then they left so like and Taner participated in the audition to replace those and he just recently started actually just like a few months.. Yea maybe like about six seven months ago he joined the group.

Thank you! And second question I would like to ask you is what does dance mean to you?

Because he has been dancing since like he was like 8 years old I mean that’s in fact its a matter of a fact it’s not like that’s  part of his life like that’s the way he expresses himself like that’s how he creates his social environment.  And like his friends group It’s always like dance has been the biggest part of his life so like what dance means to him is basically his whole life is surrounded by dance

And why did you decide.. What made you change from architecture to dance what was the deciding factor?

Like I mean since he’s been dancing since he was little but then as he was in high school so he started thinking about picking a profession like a real profession as opposed to dancing as you can imagine many places like being a dancer is not considered like a profession more like being a hobby or like passion so while he was studying for exams to get into the college and he was studying with a group and that was a specific group of students who were studying towards the conservatory exams as opposed to the like so he was surrounded by all the other pupils who like either who wants to be like actor or like who wants to be musician who wants to be a dancer so that got him to thinking again about what he really wants to do what he really likes doing which was dancing so that’s why he switched from like you know what,, I’ll just follow my passion. He is saying that he still like just scribbles on papers whenever he has time you know cause like he likes drawing

Okay that’s good to know.. Umm I next question would be because Aakash doesn’t speak Turkish especially because we wanted our class is about how movement makes meaning and just the meaning in general, how do you communicate with Aakash most of the time?

First of all at like as the group they all speak turkish so that its not like individually everybody is from s different country so that creates that would create a little more obstacles so at least like they can communicate with each other speaking turkish ..i’m just gonna you know like open up your question…I mean he still understands english it’s not like completely he simplifies his english first of all when he’s talking to him trying to explain it to him I guess it’s still you know like its not complete you know like a blockage like the language is not a complete barrier and also as you know like all the others like a lot of the others dancers are able to communicate in english so I guess like they might be doing the translation

And can you just say exactly what you asked in extension because we have to transcribe?

Yea I was just asking him when you work with Aakash directly like when it’s just you and Aakash not like the others but like since the language is like an obstacle he was saying like that’s when like Aakash you know like makes sure that he chooses the words that he can understand and that still that like the movement is always there because I mean like like instead of saying he shows the movement as well. Specially when like he was saying like what is a little more challenging  what is a more challenging part of the rehearsals is like especially when Aakash asks for them to improvise and then he has to translate it in his head what he wants Aakash to improvise and then he has to like translate it in turkish in his head and then try to find the right movement for that word and then explain to him like what his improvisation means to Aakash

Thank you and what are you thoughts on #JeSuis?

I’m just gonna translate it directly because like I don’t even know the whole JeSuis Movement so like he’s saying like this whole movement is like in a way its a mirror for him to reflect on himself so because like Aakash gives them the space to you know like express their own existence so he sees this as a movement that he can reflect what exactly his existence means in this piece or in this life kind of

And one question that is just for me personally who wants to know what advice would you give to students or people my age who are questioning the same thing maybe passion or profession as you put it before or like dance and another profession?

He was just saying that like you have to follow you passion that you can make your passion turn you passion into your profession and then hopefully you can find happiness in that

Any other questions you would like to add?

Yea I wanted to add one question which might be like free to answer or not. Can you tell us like the pieces that you are working on right now like we were observing your rehearsals the we were not like pretty much sure what you guys were doing and what that means can you just say us something like what you are working on right now?

Like can you explain like a little more about the piece that you have… (All laugh)
There’s definitely some like political elements of it but it’s not just about turkey but its like maybe using turkey as a base line to show you know like oppression in like certain parts of the like world and how people come to you know like power even then you know like there is democracy but like in all the time it can turn into you know like totalitarian regime but like with the.. By using the tools of democracy.. I mean like he didn’t say all this I was just like answering parts of it like how I see it too like I just but yea what he was saying is like its not just specific to turkey they just wanna show the like the idea of like or like how in some parts of the world like the people are being oppressed because they cant express themselves freely like it can be like a freedom of speech or freedom of movement or freedom of dancing I guess that what they wanna be able to like send out as a message with their piece

Okay thank you.


Paraphrased paragraph

Tell us about your past as a dance and what dance means to you…

Taner has been dancing since he was 8 years old and has continued dancing ever since. He started with Turkish folk dance in elementary school and continued all the way to his first years few years in college. He only moved to modern dance after changing to a more compatible but equally prominent college in Turkey.  When asked what dance meant to him he said that dance was the biggest part of his life having been present since a tender age.


Tell us how you met Aakash and your thoughts on #JeSuis…

Taner is a newer dancer to the group. He met Akash five years ago when he gave a workshop in Taner’s college. However, he only started working with him nine months ago when auditions took place to replace two Korean dancers who was no longer with the dance company. He enjoys working on #JeSuis because it allows him to self reflect as Akash often provides a space for the dancers to express themselves and find their purpose.


Tell us why you decided to dance professionally and your advice to upcoming artists..

Although dance was always part of Taner’s life it was not his original plan. He meant to be an architect but due to the people he surrounding him and after serious reflection he decided to follow his passion and make it his profession. This was also his advice to upcoming young people facing similar crossroads. Taner is truly a dancer with all his heart