Hello, Idil. First of all, can you tell us about yourself and your work?

Hello, there. Well, I’m a performing artist who specializes on Heavy Metal and Middle Eastern Dances and Fire manipulation.

You are the only professional fire-eating, fire-breathing woman in Turkey. How did you start with that? It seems quite dangerous and scary!

Fire has always fascinated me. It’s hard to put into words. It is an uncompromising teacher. I had already been dancing with fire in forms of candle tray and shamadan dance. Then, I just realized that I wanted to do something more dangerous. The Turkish word for this profession is ‘ateşbaz’ meaning – the one who plays with fire, a loanword from Persian. But I say, I don’t play with fire, I exist with it. I generate it. It generates me, my show. Am I scared? Sure. I am generally very calm and don’t show anxiety. Fire takes no prisoners, so indeed I am scared. Dealing with that fear trains and edifies me as a human being. I learn to accept that fear. Accepting the fear and acting accordingly, that’s where the courage takes place, the courage to go on…existing.

You have lived in Sweden, France and Greece and you have performed in many countries, now you are back in your home country. If you compare the reception and the interest abroad and at home, what are the most prominent differences?

Oriental Dance is always a complicated matter, because the Middle East where it comes from is a complicated place. In Turkey oriental dance is a traditional type of entertainment dance, and fusions are rare. Abroad, it is more popular than in Turkey and fusions are quite common, however sometimes it’s hard to call it oriental dance any longer as it diverges from the original too much to be recognized as ”the Dance of the Orient”. Belly Dance is a misnomer by the way. The correct term is Oryantal Dans in Turkish, Raqs Sharki in Arabic meaning Dance of the East. So in short it is indeed perceived to be interesting abroad too that I use mainly oriental dance discipline to dance to Metal music, but it’s not thought to be impossible, people are only a little surprised. It is much more different in Turkey. Oriental Dance is a cultural dance for this geography starting from Balkans to Anatolia and Arabian Peninsula and North Africa. People from these areas surely have a purer conception of this dance form and can be skeptical about fusion styles. All in all I find people of Turkey to be quite open about novelties but just anxious when it comes to the social norms.

Last year we watched you perform with Moonspell at a heavy metal festival, it was an amazing show. How did it happen? What did you feel that day?

Idylleve & Fernando Ribeiro

the Raven and the Wolf

Well, they produced that beaaauutiful oriental metal song that still keeps playing in my heart. We decided to collaborate on it. I created the Breathe choreography using my own interdisciplinary creative movement practice. I and Fernando talked a great deal online about the symbolisms and imagery in his lyrics. I sent him the videos of my preparation and rehearsals. Aytül Hasaltun, my dear friend, my dance coach, an amazing contemporary artist and dance therapist, supervised my work. It was a deep psychological process for me. I and Fernando had the opportunity to rehearse only once in a limited space and time! Then, bam! We performed! For the other song, Medusalem, I planned to do a fire show but because we didn’t have the opportunity to rehearse on stage and the wind suddenly started to blow hard, we cancelled it last moment and I improvised!
What did I feel? I felt at ”home”. Dancing to heavy metal, I can only call it home.

There is indeed a little bit of dancing at the roots of Rock music culture. Rock n Roll legend Elvis Presley and many other famed musicians were famous for their dancing as well as their music. In Turkey, Seyyal Taner performed with Moğollar as a part of a Go Go Girl show. In the Heavy Metal scene, Orphaned Land is known to be featuring dance shows, however I have a feeling that metalheads and rockers in Turkey got quite surprised at this oriental metal show. What kind of comments did you get? What are your observations?

Turkey is the epitome of ambivalence. There are always some “no, can’t” and then there is still lots of openness. So that’s what I felt. I got awesome comments, even at the language school I work at. I am really honored. I am euphoric. I want oriental metal to be a proper dance form, to be passed to new students with a reliable system. Oriental dance is a vast dance form, surprisingly open to different interpretations due to the multiculturalism of its geography and also due to the international support it receives. However, it’s hard to present it as an art form in Turkey due to Turkey’s own identity problems, sociopolitical sensitivities, and some strangely internalized moralism. I think that oriental metal suits Turkey’s identity so well.

You are a true Metalhead, and as far as I know you especially like Black Metal. What are your favorite bands? And I wanna ask specifically, how do you find the Turkish Metal scene and the Turkish Metal bands?

Favorite bands… I find something to appreciate in almost all bands that I come across. The bands that I enjoy most… aww! There are so many! Emperor, Watain, Bathory, Dark Funeral, Dark Throne, Mayhem, Behemoth, Dimmu Borgir, Carpathian Forest, Arcturus, Rotting Christ, Tsjuder, Blut Aus Nord, Silencer, Diabolical Masquerade, Melechesh, Dødheimsgard, Carach Angren. And believe me, many more!

I like the metal scene in Turkey. I love the fact that Rock and Metal are so well-liked here. You can go out and enjoy live Thrash and Death Metal sound on a Saturday night until Sunday morning! \m/{>!<}\m/ wow! But the scene is way too masculine and misogynistic . There is rebellion in heavy metal. I expect metalheads to rebel against gender norms.

Another thing I noted is that local bands are not receiving the support they should be receiving from local people. If local bands are not fully supported within their own country the scene cannot get stronger. Support your local bands! We all know it’s not easy to do this job in Turkey. We should appreciate the social and economic courage and effort. It would also be nice to see more initiative from the musicians to create and experiment with new stuff. Turkey is currently going through a profoundly rough period, but let’s think beyond that, let’s think about the significance of art in human life, humans can make art under any circumstances because art is an outlet and is a part of human nature. Turkey is culturally very fertile for innovations.

Which metal bands would you like most to perform with?

Oh. Can I dream? Can I dream?

I would love to collaborate with Mayhem in a satanic bloooody fire show.

Keep of Kalessin is one of my fave bands. I’d love to perform with fire to their Dragontower song.

Rammstein. Who wouldn’t wanna perform with those genius pyromaniacs?

I am impressed by Hayko Cepkin. Both his music and his performing skills are majestic! Already using his songs for my shows and classes.
I participated in a gothic event where She Past Away played live before my show. They are awesome. I’d love to perform an eerie gothic show with them.

I can count so many bands in fact, but 2 more; Darkened Nocturn Slaughtercult, German-Polish female fronted trve Blackk Metuhl! And there is Hanzel und Gretyl; Neue Deutsche Härte from USA!
Multi-Culti. 🙂

You have studied Clinical Dance Movement Therapy at International Institute for Advanced Practice in Dance Movement Therapy, and you have worked with young adults with Down Syndrome. This is such a special thing. I want to sincerely congratulate you. Do you have similar plans nowadays?

Working with young adults with Down Syndrome was a part of my internship. Currently I am not invcolved in it, but I’ll pick it up again in September and I want to continue my internship working with heavy metal musicians on their psychological problems due to social stigma and its effects on their creativity.

Can you tell us more about interdisciplinary creative movement practice?
This is related, however distinctly separated from Dance Movement Therapy. It can be used for boosting creativity or for psychological well-being, or just because it is a beautiful way to work on one’s body and soul together through art. What I mean by interdisciplinary is that I use movement, painting, writing to deepen, crystallize and transform the material or the subject I work on. Sometimes I create a new character to work on. For example, when I worked on Moonspell’s Breathe, I created a gynandromorphous persona half raven and half wolf, named it Hilaphasahar, inspired by the Hebrew term for “Lucifer, son of the dawn” – “helel ben shakhar”, and Turkish words “Hilal” crescent, “seher” twilight – loan words from Arabic – , and Alpha one of the previous personas I created. I drew pictures and wrote stories about it and experimented with the idea how such a creature would move. So this process offers whole new areas to work on.

And you are an English teacher, too! Where do you teach? How do you find the time to keep up with all this?
Yeah, I graduated from Stockholm University with a major in Linguistics, and minor in Turkish and Turkic Languages from Uppsala University. Currently I teach at Turkish-American Association Language Schools. How do I find time for all this? By doing things little by little, accepting to leave some things behind, if much attention is required in a particular area. Balance is the key.

We are grateful as Iskelet Rockzine staff that you kindly answered our questions. Is there something more you wanna say to the fellow rockers?

Thanks you for the interview and awesome questions. I wanna say, believe in yourself, trust that our weakest part is our strongest part, too. Keep creating and keep rocking!