Turkish ballet dancer’s life becomes documentary film

Turkish ballet dancer’s life becomes documentary film

ANKARA - Anatolia News Agency
Turkish ballet dancer’s life becomes documentary film

Meriç Sümen

One of the symbols of Turkish ballet, Meriç Sümen’s life has become a documentary. “Tutku: Meriç Sümen” (Passion: Meriç Sümen) documents the reasons why she persevered in ballet despite all its difficulties and was filmed on location where important events in Sümen’s 25-year artistic life occurred, including Ankara, Istanbul, southern Antalya and Aegean Bodrum along with Moscow and London.

“Sümen, the first female general director of the State Opera and Ballet and the first ballet dancer with the title of ‘State Artist,’ danced for more than 25 years,” filmmaker Mehmet Şafak Türkel told the Anatolia news agency. “We have tried to tell her 25-year professional life story in a documentary. It includes three or four-minute short films in which she shares her thoughts about ballet.”

Directed by Türkel, the documentary was shot after a research process last summer with the collaboration of the Culture and Tourism Ministry, State Opera and Ballet General Directorate, Hacettepe University Ankara State Conservatory, British Royal Ballet Company, British Royal Ballet School and Bolshoi Ballet Company.

Sümen played the leading role in more than 50 ballets and performed in 22 countries, Türkel said, adding that she also won the ballet trainer title in Bolshoi. Sümen still served as a ballet coach, he said.

Türkel said Ankara was the city where she got training at the conservatory. She became the student to the founder of Turkish State Ballet, Dame Ninette de Valois, and played the leading role in many renowned ballet works like “Swan Lake,” “Sleeping Beauty” and “Giselle.”

“In London, she worked with the giants of the ballet world like Rudolf Nureyev and Margot Fonteyn,” he said, adding that in her Moscow years, Sümen learned Russian ballet technique and performed at the Bolshoi Theater. Istanbul is the place where she experienced her last years in performance in the mid 1980s, he said.