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The Man Behind the Ballet

The Man Behind the Ballet

Sinan Ertemel is the Founder and Impresario of Balletistan, a production organization for classical ballet. Balletistan’s mission is to make ballet more accessible to the audience; they do this by producing ballet performances and hosting weekly interviews on Wednesdays, where they talk to international dancers and dance professionals about their past histories, goals and inspirations. These interviews allow everyday people to get a glimpse into the daily lives and passions of the dancers.

Ertemel’s love for ballet began when he visited the theatre in Kyiv about three years ago. Growing up in Turkey, he was encouraged to pursue his natural talents in math and economics. Born in Siirt, Ertemel moved to the USA to attend Rice University. Today, he is a Professor of Economics at the Istanbul Technical University and works as the Vice Dean and Faculty Manager. Ertemel came to Kyiv to meet with colleagues from sister universities; as a tourist, he bought a ticket for a ballet performance in Kyiv and saw The Forest Song. According to Ertemel, it was the first time he saw ballet and it proved an emotional and life changing experience. He was inspired to support the Ukrainian ballet artists on tour in Turkey and bring their art to the world. He founded Balletistan with associate artistic director Sergiy Iefanov and continues to create meaningful artistic events.

It takes someone exactly like Ertemel to create a golden age in ballet: other famous impresarios such as Sergei Diaghilev and Lincoln Kirsten were men with financial savvy and a passionate love for the artform; these men gave ballet a platform to grow. In a world so polluted by ugliness and cruelty, Ertemel is the type of person who finds beauty and shares it with everyone.

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