Ballets By Ninette De Valois - Turkish State Ballet

Turkish State Ballet

As with ballet in the United Kingdom, de Valois exerted a great deal of influence on the development of ballet in Turkey, which had no prior history with the art form. The Turkish Government invited de Valois to research the possibility of establishing a ballet school in the country and she subsequently visited the country in the 1940s, opening a school following the same model as her Sadler's Wells Ballet School in London. Initially, very few people took the project seriously, but the school did become firmly established and led to the development of the Turkish State Ballet.

After training the first set of pupils at the new Turkish Ballet School, de Valois subsequently produced a number of early performances by the state ballet company, permitting guest appearances by Royal Ballet dancers including Margot Fonteyn, Nadia Nerina, Anya Linden, Michael Somes and David Blair. She mounted productions of the traditional classical repertoire including Coppélia, Giselle, Don Quixote, Swan Lake and The Nutcracker, as well as the contemporary ballets Les Patineurs, Les Rendezvous and Prince of the Pagodas by Frederick Ashton, and her own ballets The Rake's Progress, Checkmate and Orpheus.

In 1965, de Valois produced and choreographed the first full length ballet created for the new Turkish State Ballet. Titled Çeşmebaşı (At the Fountain), the ballet was the first to feature music composed by a Turkish Composer Ferit Tuzun and with choreography incorporating elements of Turkish folk dance. Further ballets followed and the ballet company continued to develop. Today, ballet continues to be a thriving art form in Turkey, with the ballet school that de Valois established now forming part of the State Conservatory for Music and Drama at the Ankara State Conservatory.

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