Turkish ballet finishes successful season
Over 30,000 people have viewed ballet shows in the last seven months at the Ankara State Opera and Ballet (ADOB), pointing to a growing interest in ballet from Turkish people.
The historic Opera Stage in Ankara’s Ulus neighborhood closed its curtains in May to undergo restoration.
ADOB chief ballet choreographer Hakan Odabaşı, who once played the Big Bird in the Turkish version of the famous children’s television show Sesame Street and has been performing as a soloist dancer in many ballet works since 1988, said he took up the position in January 2017.
Speaking about the current ballet season, which opened last October, and the new works set to be realized in the next season, he said he believed the new generation in Ankara ballet should showcase classical ballet. He took the first step with “Giselle” and “Zorba the Greek” with the choreography of Lorca Massine.
Odabaşı said they also performed “Harem,” “Frida” and Tango’s and Beyhan Murphy’s “Güldestan.” “We had a very busy and very good season in ballet. We got nice responses from the audience. Nearly 300,000-500,000 people viewed our shows. We staged a total of 55-60 shows to a full house,” he said.
Odabaşı said the figures constituted only the ballet performances in their built-up stages and the festivals were not included in the number. He added that around 28,000 people viewed ballet last year.
“I want to thank our viewers. They have shown great interest and never left us alone in our shows. I do believe that we’ve done a good thing. Viewers leave the stage very pleased. They come again to the same show,” he said.
Speaking about the projects in the next season, Odabaşı said, “We have ‘Don Quixote’ and Scott Fitzgerald’s ‘Great Gatsby’ next season. We are currently working on them.”
He said that preparations for the new season had already been done and they would be able to stage these works as soon as the restoration is finished.
He said 1,500 people viewed “Zorba the Greek” during the Opera and Ballet Festival in Eskişehir.
As for the summer season festivals, Odabaşı said, “As part of the Istanbul Opera and Ballet Festival, we will stage ‘Zorba’ on July 2. The Bodrum Ballet Festival is on Aug. 1 and the Ephesus Opera Ballet Festival is on Sept. 7. Then we have Aspendos festival. The season is not over for us. It is a big honor for us to join international festivals with ‘Zorba.’”
Speaking of his time playing the Big Bird in Sesame Street, Odabaşı said he used to perform ballet the whole day and go for the shooting of the show at nights.
He said no one knew he was the actor behind Big Bird because he wasn’t allowed to disclose his identity due to his contract. “But then people learned it was me. This role was a big experience and pleasure for me. There are still people who know me as the Big Bird and come to the shows to see me. It is a surprise for me,” he added.