The Society of Folk Dance Historians (SFDH)
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Information: Tayyar Akdeniz, teacher of Turkish dance.
Tayyar Akdeniz was born in 1955 in the province of Kars, Turkey. His Family relocated to the capital, Ankara, when Tayyar was two years old. He was greatly influenced and learned many dance and music styles from the Romany (Gypsy) poulation in his neighborhood of Cin Con Baglari. He worked and toured with many Turkish dance ensembles throughout his childhood and adolescence and started teaching professionally at the age of 16.
Turkish folk dancing is not something he merely studied and pursued over the years, it is something he has lived his whole life. Not only did his mother encourage his learning dance and rhythm from the time he was a toddler, but he was continually exposed to traditional Turkish Folk Dance at family and cultural gatherings while growing up. During Elementary School he participated in his school's dance performances and celebrations. When he was in High School he joined the folk dance competitions. From 1975 to 1983 he was involved as a dancer, musician, instructor, and choreographer in various folkloric associations in Turkey. He performed and traveled around the world with the Turkish State Folk Dance Ensemble and other distinguished dance companies from Turkey. They performed in Albania, Austria, Bangladesh, Bulgaria, China, Cypress, France, Germany, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Italy, Malaysia, Mexico, Pakistan, Romania, Russia, Singapore, South Korea, Thailand, Yugoslavia, and throughout the United States.
During these years he studied with some of Turkey's best known choreographers and performed with many of Turkey's most renowned musicians and singers. As a singer and musician, he is proficient in several folk instruments, including the davul (bass drum), baglama (lute), kasiklar (flute), kasik (spoons), and zils (finger cymbals). After several years of teaching folk dance at the university level, Tayyar moved from Ankara to New York City in 1989. Since then he has worked tirelessly to keep a sense of Turkish culture alive for Turkish-American citizens, particularly children. This has been accomplished through his work at various Turkish schools and cultural organizations. He has taught folk dancing at the Ataturk School and Anadolu School. Tayyar's files are teaming with certificates, awards, invitations, and letters of thanks from various organizations and Turkish heads of state who have been more than impressed with his work in both Turkey and the United States.
Since he founded the Turkish Fine Arts Ensemble in 1994, Tayyar and the ensemble have been in great demand as instructors and performers all over the United States. For the last five years, Tayyar himself has been a featured teacher and performer at the Mendocino California Middle Eastern Dance Camp, a major annual event that draws ethnic dance artists from all over the United States. His love of dance is evident in the sheer joy that he projects from the stage. His productions are of the highest caliber seen anywhere in ethnic dance and are virtually flawless.
Tayyar has learned dances from such well known masters as Duygu Aykal, Sonya Aslan, Gul Oya Ariobam, and Atlan Tekin. He has taught, organized, and directed many folkloric activities sponsored by the Turkish American Youth Association, the Turkish Women's League of America, and currently continues to make a positive impact as the Director of Cultural Affairs for the Federation of Turkish American Associations, Inc.
Tayyar founded and owns M.E.D. Folk Tours, Inc., and is now devoting his time between Turkey and the United States.
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