Discoveries: Obengül Polen Gezmis

July 9th, 2013 by d.b.  - 

Follow us and discover a remarkable young woman who jumped straight from ballet school right into one of the most pres­ti­gious ballet companies in Europe. We had the opportunity to meet Obengül Polen Gezmis right after rehearsal in the ballet studio of Deutsche Oper Berlin.

Polen Gezmis by Daniel Barth

You just finished your education at “Staatliche Ballettschule Berlin” last year – and immediately got a job in the ensemble of Staatsballett Berlin. A dream career start for a young dancer. How did it come true for you?

It was my dream since four years to dance in Vladimir Malakhov’s Staatsoper Berlin. It was of course not easy to get a job there. In summer 2012 I participated in the Istanbul International Ballet Competition and won second prize there. I was very lucky that Mr Malakhov was also there as a member of the jury. He saw me and after the competition he asked me if I wanted to dance in his company. Finally my dream came true.


So this particular competition had a special impact on your life. How do you feel about competitions in general?

The ballet competitions are important for me. A competition is very different from a performance. You have to be strong and you need a good preparation. I personally like this felling; to be excited, to be nervous and get a little stress. For me, the time I spend preparing is the most important part. Because I feel that I learn many things and I can improve myself. It is a great experience to do a competition. And usually there are a lot of directors of ballet companies, so you have the chance to get an engagement.


Polen Gezmis by Daniel Barth


Speaking today with first experiences: how well does school prepare you for the life of a dancer in a big company?

I feel I had a good education at State Ballet School of Berlin. But now in the company, I can see that there are some differences between ballet school and professional life. You usually get a lot of time at school to learn a new piece. In the company, you have to be a lot faster. Sometimes, you have only two rehearsals to learn all the steps. This is new for me. It is really exciting to learn how to become a professional dancer.


A transition lies ahead for Staatsballett Berlin: in August 2014, Duato will replace Malakhov as artistic director. Did you have any personal experiences with Duato, yet?

No, I didn’t have any experience with Nacho Duato yet. But I hope I will. He seems to be a good director. I already saw some of his pieces and I really liked them. His choreographies tend to be more modern in style, while the State Ballet Berlin is so far more on the classical side of ballet. We are all very excited how it will be to work with him.


Polen Gezmis by Daniel Barth


You moved from Istanbul to Berlin to study there. What are your experiences with the turkish dance scene?

The classical ballet in Turkey is quite good. We have six big companies and they are getting better. There are a lot of great and talented dancers. Unfortunately, these kinds of art like theatre, opera and ballet are not really as important in Turkey as they are here in Germany. For example, we have a rather small stage in Istanbul and generally not too many possibilities. But nevertheless, we have good dancers.


These days, Turkey receives an unusual amount of media attention. How do you experience the events around Taksim square and the ongoing demonstrations?

I am really sad about these news in Turkey. I cannot believe how aggressive, brutal and non-human the police is. Every day, I try to follow the news from the turkish newspapers I find in Berlin, from the internet and from friends and family in Turkey. A lot of my friends participate in the demonstration, too. I am really proud of them. They are trying to keep Turkey as a democratic country and I am really proud how brave they are! There were also some solidarity demonstrations here in Berlin, which I joined, too.


Polen Gezmis by Daniel Barth


What are your upcoming projects and productions?

I am very excited for the new version (by V. Medvedev and Y. Burlaka) of nutcracker this season. I hope it will be a good season and a nice, ‘last year’ with Vladimir Malakhov.


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and other great artists
from around the world.

Photography by Daniel Barth.

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