Spoken Languages : English, French, Spanish, Turkish
A woman of theatre, music and dance, Irem Bekter was born in Istanbul. At the age of eight, she moved to England where she obtained degrees in classical dance and jazz from the Elmhurst Ballet School, with additional advanced exams at the Royal Academy of Dance in London. Irem later studied theatre, radio, television, directing and singing in the Bachelor program at the Webber Douglas Academy of Dramatic Arts.
In 1984, she moved to Argentina and collaborated in several theatre productions, musicals, television series as well as five films. Fascinated by the traditional arts of that country, she dedicated her heart and soul to Argentinian folklore, especially ‘zapateo’ (Argentine foot stomping) and other traditional dances and music.
After years of exhaustive research, she combined her theatre knowledge with her experience in indigenous artforms to create a new pedagogical concept called ‘Rhythm and Body’, in which zapateo was infused with sounds, words, rhythms and improvised music. The first incarnation of the concept was the creation 'Medea, La Voz de la Sangre’, sponsored by the Freudian School of Buenos Aires, and presented in various theatres in Argentina from 2002 to 2005.
At the same time, Irem continued to develop ‘Rhythm and Body’ with families-at-risk in disadvantaged areas. Her concept also became a part of extracurricular theatrical activities with young people with Down Syndrome. Under the auspices of the Teatro Luz y Fuerza, Irem developed a motor coordination program to stimulate brain and body activity in seniors.
For five years she taught ‘Rhythm and Body on Stage’ at the Cultural Centre of the Faculty of Economics Sciences of Argentine as well as several other theatre studios around the country. In 2003, at the invitation of the National Theatre School of Canada, Irem conducted introductory workshops of the same concept in Montreal.
Irem Bekter deepened her knowledge continuously, through her rhythmic explorations and practice in Argentina, or through studies with Jerzy Grotowski and Gabrielle Roth, always accessing her art as a means to reach self-discovery and assertiveness.
A resident of Montreal since late 2006, Irem has not stopped to innovate artistically and socially. A part-time professor of Argentinian dance at Al Sur Tango, she has also served as movement coach for Montreal’s Infinitheatre as well as for Concordia University's ‘Centre for the Arts in Human Development’ program, which helps people with special needs.
She carried out rhythm, dance and theatre projects, called ‘Roads of America’, at College Joseph-François-Perrault (2007), ‘Playing with Rhythms’ with children from 18 months to 5 years-old at the YMCA (2008), as well as with primary schools Curé-A-Petit in Cowansville and St-François-d'Assise in Frelighsburg (2011).
Since 2009, she has also co-hosted improvisation training with the Quebec actress Diane Jules, and has given workshops entitled ‘Journey to the Centre of Oneself Through Rhythms of the Body’ with the psychologist Carole Miville (2010, 2011).
Along with choreographer Roger Sinha, Irem created a cultural mediation project called ‘Zapateo sous zero’ at the performance venue of Parc-Extension (2012). The project was based on body and rhythm exploration to encourage a communicative relationship between the participants from various communities. Anchored in Bekter and Sinha’s current artistic processes, the project goes beyond cultural and language barriers by showing the potential of the body as instrument of expression, communication and gathering.
Most recently, Irem gave a series of ‘Rhythm and Body’ workshops in Gibsons, British Columbia.