Kledi, prince charming


From illegal immigrant without documents, to leading dancer with the ballet corps for the TV programme “Buona Domenica”. Kledi Kadiu, the Albanian who has become famous thanks to his talent and determination, and currently the most sought after guest by the TV shows: from “Buona Domenica”, where for years he was on show with showmen of the level of Maurizio Costanzo and Luca Laurenti, to “C’è posta per te” where he became dance teacher for Maria de Filippi. Kledi Kadiu tells his fairy tale to “Bota Shqiptare”.
Ciao, Kledi!" The young girl with her happy face greets the boy who just got out of the car, and who knows how long she had been waiting at the bar in Cinecittà. He turned round and even if he had never seen her before, smiled and greeted her back. The girl took her friend’s arm, who was surprised too, and they both burst out in an excited laugh.
The boy of the “ciao” is Kledi Kadiu. He is used to people stopping him and greeting him by now. Since he began to taste the success of Italian TV, he has had to get used to the “consequences” of popularity.
If “Prince Charming” had known how to dance, then Kledi really would be a “Prince Charming”. However he has got all the other attributes of the imaginary prince: sculpted, muscular body, well defined features, smiling eyes. He has a strange look in his eyes, somewhere between shyness and joy, something childlike that is perfectly fitting with the calf-length trousers the “prince” is wearing. Far from the “macho” that we see in his artistic photos or on TV.
Just a few words are enough to convince you that Kledi is like the look in his eyes, a pleasant paradox: a famous dancer who has remained humble, affectionate, sincere and very kind. Moving out of range of my cigarette smoke he calmly told me how he managed to become a fairytale figure.

Once upon a time...
Kledi’s career in Italy began as an illegal immigrant like many other Albanians here in Italy: “A ballet corps from Mantova came to Albania in 1993 and held auditions for a number of Albanian dancers. They brought me to Mantova with a visa for one month, for study purposes. After we should have done shows for them. We were all Albanians and prepared in classic repertoire: “Swan Lake”, “Don Quixote”, “Gisele”. The shows were of high artistic level, because world famous ballet dancers also took part, like Leonard Xhokaxhi. But apart from that we were only paid 500,000 liras per month and the rent alone cost 350,000. You can imagine what we managed to do with the rest. But our documents were not in order and so we couldn’t do anything. Only later on did I learn that this ballet company had been exploiting ballet dancers from ex-soviet block countries for some time. I didn’t do military service in Albania, but in a certain sense I did it in Mantova.
“However I was very determined and even in the most difficult moments, both professionally and financially, I never once thought of doing anything else other than dance”.
Italian occupation
Kledi was born on 7 April 1974. “It was the day Italy occupied Albania”. After great vicissitudes, Kledi managed to establish an employment contract and receive his residence permit. “In that moment I really thought that I could make it. I worked in Rovereto for a while, but in the meantime I was very concentrated on and attentive to TV shows. The day finally came when I began to dance in a TV show, called “The Great Bluff” compeered by Paola Barale and Luca Barbareschi. However, document problems were never ending: I had to convert my residence permit from employment contract to self-employed. There was that much bureaucracy. But when I thought back to the time in Mantova, the current problems seemed nothing in comparison”. From then on, Kledi’s career has been unhalting: “Garrison, the choreographer for certain TV shows, chose me for the majority of them. Then in 1998, I joined the ballet corps of “Buona Domenica”, where I began to feel much better as the time given over to the performance was considerable. For the 1999 edition, I was chosen as leading dancer for the entire ballet corps of “Buona Domenica”, formed of sixteen people. I was and still am very satisfied but also very responsible, because being leading dancer means being at the centre of the attention with millions of eyes pointed at you watching all your movements. I felt great and satisfied with “C’è posta per te” as well. In that show I had the task of teaching Maria de Filippi to dance. During the gala evening for the “Telegatti”, I danced with her before some of the most famous TV and cinema personalities”. Maria De Filippi also seems impressed by Kledi’s professionalism. During an interview for “Oggi”, the wife of Maurizio Costanzo declared that her external transformation is due to two people: Giorgio and Kledi – Giorgio is Giorgio Armani and Kledi is Kledi Kadiu.

The “letterina”
The love alphabet for Kledi has just one letter: Letter because she is known as a “letterina” a fantasy person created by the TV programme writers. Her name is Daniela Bello; she comes from Varese and was a “letterina” in the show “Passaparola” with Gerry Scotti.
“We fell in love during a theatre show. Our relationship lasted three years, then unfortunately ended due to the distance between us: I live in Rome and she lives in Milan. With all our commitments, we never managed to see each other very often and now I’m single again. I still have an excellent relationship with Daniela and we often speak on the phone”
Not only Kledi
“If being Albanian was a hindrance Sure, especially at the beginning. It’s different now, but they are all rather sceptical towards us professionally, but nearly all the Albanians who are dancing here in Italy have an excellent professional background. The Fine Arts Academy in Tirana is really tough at the beginning, but you reach a good professional level. This is probably the reason why many Albanian artists have gained a good position within the artistic companies. When I joined Italian TV, I met other Albanians who already worked there and still do today. Ilir Shaqiri, for example, is an excellent dancer besides being a close friend. He works in the ballet corps of “Buona Domenica” and from 1995 worked in “La Corrida” with Corrado. I could name other dancers like Leonard Xhokaxhi, Enkel Zhuti, Remis Kaceli, Lindita Amataj, Olta Bitri, Julian Shtino, many of whom have gained fame at international level through repertoire ballet”.

The swan’s song
They say that ballet is the song of the body, sometimes joyful and sometimes sad. They say it is the poetry of feet. Feet are a sacred tool for a dancer, like a football player, and the dancer knows that the time when he will no longer be able to perform that silent poetry comes along fast.
“I know that for a dancer it is not long before the limelight turns off due to our age, but I will carry on dancing for as long as I can. Later I would like to go ahead with my project for a ballet school or for choreography”
There is a slight folly in dancing that does us all good. It certainly has done well for Kledi, a shy and determined person “I pray that my career goes along at the same rhythm as the last few years”.
In our opinion, prayers are good not only for our knees, but for dancing too.

From the magazine Bota Shqiptare