Utku Bal

PeopleMarch 9, 2016
Utku Bal

We meet in a cafe at Montmartre in Paris, at Utku’s suggestion. I asked for somewhere atmospheric, and Bal instantly thinks of the most cliche place in Paris, full of little styled houses from the turn of the 19th century. Inevitably I see why. Bal’s passion is life and he a is a muse to another; dance. The next Mikhail Baryshnikov? Probably yes.

Every word is dappered with fire and zeal. And so Bal tells me the story, in chronological order, about how he got here. So it goes…The son of a primary school teacher and businessman, Bal had originally wanted to be a singer, whilst his mother had him taking piano lessons. One day, at eleven, they saw a ballet audition placed in the Antalya local newspaper. Naturally they went, however, unbeknownst to Bal, he thought he was attending singing auditions. It was insisted that Bal dance for the audition anyhow, and the rest is history. What was Bal’s response to entering ballet as a boy? Simple; “I liked a girl in ballet class; there were thirty girls and one boy.”

He went on to study at Antalya National Ballet, Hacettepe University State Conservatory in Ankara, Istanbul University State Conservatory, and finally Paris, where he joined the Jeune Ballet Européen. This year he will perform as Nour, the principle dancer for the Cairo Opera in the production Les Jours et Les Nuits de L’arbre Coeur with the well known composer Tarik Benouarka and an orchestra of forty young blind girls.

Author: Tabitha Karp