I am from Turkey and grew up in Ankara, the capital city. I came to the UK to learn English in 1996 and met my husband in 1998 and stayed. I now live in Birmingham where I teach dance, English and Turkish.
My love for dance came at a young age. I practiced dance from Primary School, throughout High School and University. While I lived in Turkey I performed in many cities across the country. I got my dancing qualification in 1996 and when I moved to the UK I was asked to teach dance classes, so I did.
Dance is still a part of my life. I teach Oriental Dance (belly dance) to women from many different backgrounds, and I have danced all over the UK. I lead my own group in Sutton Coldfield and also make dance costumes.
Turkish Oriental Dance has many styles such as Kars, Kara, Kafcas, Kasik, Chiftetelli, Dogan Halay, Cukurova Hay, Adana, Atabari, or Ankara, named after capital. The influences are from Kurdish, Azerbaijan and from Mediterranean folk dances but in the UK people from all backgrounds are dancing it. It is very good for body and mind.
I also used to teach Mediterranean cookery for the Adult Education Service. As well as teaching Turkish and doing the occasional interpreting, I am proud to say I now teach English in England.
This interview is part of a series of stories of migrants in Birmingham produced by participants of Migrant Voice's 'Many Faces, One City' project. The project celebrates the contribution of migrants to life in Birmingham. It brought together migrants and host community in Birmingham to build their skills in telling stories of migration through text, photo, film and social media.