Young Turkish ballet dancer returns home with Seoul medal

Monday, August 16, 2010
ANKARA - Anatolia News Agency

Turkish ballet dancer Kadir Okurer has returned home after winning third place at the Seventh International Seoul Ballet Competition, the biggest event of its kind in East Asia. While the ballet community is pleased with the 20-year-old dancer’s success, many believe Okurer performed well enough to take home top prize while in the South Korean capital

20-year-old Turkish ballet dancer Kadir Okurer, who is dancing for the Ankara State Opera and Ballet, won the third place at the competition in Seoul, the largest on in East Asia.

Bringing pride to the Turkish ballet community, 20-year-old Kadir Okurer has returned from the 7th Seoul International Ballet Competition with a third-place medal, the seventh he has won in international tournaments.

Okurer drew great interest from the audience and jury members during the Seoul competition, where 300 international artists performed in different dance categories. Dimitriy Zagrebin from the Bolshoi Ballet won the competition, while second place went to Denys Cherevychko of Ukraine.

Some from the Turkish ballet community, however, believed the country’s best performer deserved a much better result during the event in late July. “Considering his perfect performance and the praise of the jury members, we expected the first prize for him,” said Ankara State Opera and Ballet, or ADOB, Director Erdoğan Davran. Okurer received training from Sanem Subaygil, an ADOB artist, and continues to dance at the Ankara company.

“We believe that third price is an injustice because Okurer was not just very successful at the competition, but very, very successful,” Davran said, adding that the dancer deserved top spot because it had been widely seen that Okurer delivered the best performance while in Seoul.

Okurer also said he was told during the competition that he performed the best dance while in Seoul, adding that the winner also congratulated him.

“[Zagrebin] told me that he was expecting me to be the winner of the competition. I represented my country in the best way,” said Okurer, expressing his gratitude to Turkish Culture and Tourism Minister Ertuğrul Günay and the State Opera and Ballet General Director Rengim Gökmen.

“As a violinist, I know very well that an artist is not able to win an award at each organization he or she joins,” the head of ADOB said. “Representing our country in international competitions, Okurer achieved a very difficult goal and has returned with a prize seven times. We congratulate him. So we are glad to have a ballet dancer like him, dancing for the Ankara State Opera and Ballet.”

Okurer attracting interest from foreign companies

Noting that there were very few Turkish artist dancing abroad, Okurer said he made his name heard by joining international competitions.

ADOB Ballet head trainer Subaygil, meanwhile, said Okurer was the first ballet dancer from the Ankara company to attend the largest ballet competition in East Asia.

Okurer, who won the Grand Prix Award in the Istanbul International Ballet Competition, which was held in 2008 for the first time by the State Opera and Ballet General Directorate as part of the 2010 European Capital of Culture, is now entertaining offers to appear in the companies of leading ballet companies abroad.

Among these foreign companies is the English National Ballet, whose director invited Okurer to dance at his company while watching the Turkish dancer in his capacity as a jury member at the Seoul event.

The Turkish dancer, meanwhile, was also invited to next year’s gala event of the Seoul International Ballet Competition.