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Interview: Simge Burhanoğlu

We spoke with curator and ballet critic Simge Burhanoğlu about her new performing arts initiative Performistanbul

You have a graduate degree in ballet studies from London. How did you shift from such a traditional discipline like ballet to the more free-spirited performing arts?
“When I was putting together a performance as a final project for one of my classes, I wanted to use someone who wasn’t trained in any specific discipline, so I chose an art model who relied on his emotions to move his body. The result was a warm, candid piece, and in that moment I understood how impressive the results of physical and mental freedom could be. I’m someone who searches for emotion and a connection in everything, and I saw that I was able to find it in the performing arts.”

Did you start Performistanbul because you believe the city needed such a performing arts platform?
“There was definitely a need: since performing artists’ works aren’t tangible and therefore cannot be sold, nobody wants to take a risk and look after this art form. I believe that living works are more relevant in this century than the static pieces shown in museums. That’s why I took this step, knowing that performing arts will evolve into a necessity.”

Performistanbul doesn’t have a set venue. Do you have any expansion plans for the future, be it through a permanent space or new artists added to the group?
“We prefer not to limit ourselves to a specific venue, as we believe that we need to expand and reach different audiences. Performing arts also rely on the texture and soul of different venues. Of course we have plans to grow: we’ve already added new performers to our roster of talent despite being very new.”

Click here to find out more about Performistanbul.

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