By Heidi Trautmann
On Sunday afternoon hundreds of people flocked in at the Near East University to the Atatürk Cultural Centre to see the students of Kibris Sanat ve Bale Okulu – Cyprus Art, Music and Ballet School - dance; It was supposed to start at 16:00 hrs but at 16.30 people still rushed into the big theatre finally having to sit on the steps between the rows. I had found a single seat next to a boy who was obviously bored and played games on his I-pad during the entire performance and moaning and wondering what all the hopping done on stage had to do with him.
Turgay Hilmi and Gözlem Özdegirmenci both directors of the school opened the event and finally the curtain opened to a row of orange little ‘rosebuds’ impatiently waiting to show their dance. It was really touching to watch the small children in their beautiful costumes tiptoeing to the commands of their teachers, the youngest was perhaps three years old. But they managed to follow and completed their dance marvelously. There were different age groups to follow, each group in different costumes again, in long ballet dresses and stiff tutus looking like oversized flower petals on their small bodies. One of the groups of somewhat older girls even showed a dance on point, still a bit shaky but well done. Each single performance was applauded especially coming from those seats where the families sat and on their march from stage the girls waved excitedly to them. The Can Can Dance raised many cheers and whistling from the male audience, well danced by youngsters of …I would say 18 years, especially the bow with the skirts up at the end was appreciatively applauded on, although the arm and leg movements still need coordinating. The first scene was concluded with a solo show by a professional dancer showing a Spanish dance.
Now followed the Folk Dance Section with the youngest kids, boys and girls, in their costumes, sitting around their teacher Zeki Çeler, an old friend, I know him from times when he taught the Girne Folk Dance Group.
He ordered them up in pairs of two to tell the audience something. Thus they lost their shyness and spoke out loud. The movements of the folk dances seem to be very natural to them and the little girls shook their upper bodies just as they have seem it done from grownups dancing. The order of line was sometimes broken by children who seemed to loose their trousers and they had to stop and pull them up.
In the second scene we could see a ballet with some professional ballet dancers, “Sleeping Beauty” to the music by Peter Tchaikovsky. A group of student dancers were included. A lovely experience.
All our hearts have been staying up there on stage while the afternoon performance lasted.
The history of ballet goes back to Italy in the 15th and 16th century and quickly spread all over Europe especially to France, where King Louis XIV was performing himself. Classic ballet with strict rules right up to modern and free dance are on the programmes of Opera Houses and the road to become a professional dancer is hard. Discipline all your life, long and hard training hours. I still remember the old and famous film The Red Shoes which I have seen at least three times.
But to speak for the students of the Cyprus Ballet School, it is discipline they will learn, the grace of movements and that is a great thing to teach young people, it will certainly make their road through life easier.
Some of the photos are by Kibris Sanat Okulu!