Oğulcan Borova began his career as a ballet dancer in Turkey and received his first contract as a professional dancer in the United States in 1999. He was a guest artist for many years at Cincinnati Ballet before officially joining as a principal dancer from 2008-2012.He returned to Cincinnati Ballet to serve as Ballet Master in 2015 where he is responsible for the level of competence of dancers in our Company.
How long have you lived in Cincinnati?
I’ve lived in Cincinnati almost eight years total, but I was in Chicago for four years in between.
What do you do in your spare time?
These days I am busy with my five-month-old baby girl. I do love to hang out with my friends when I have time, though.
Tell us about your family. Are they arts (and dance) lovers, too?
My grandfather was a trombone player, my dad was an opera singer, and my mom paints. I also have a sister. She went to the same school I did, and she plays the clarinet.
How important is dance in your home country of Turkey? Does it play a different role than it does here in the US?
It is very important, just as it is in many European countries. In Turkey, ballet, opera and symphony are all under one roof and government supported. I feel like every company in the U.S. has a unique role in their community. So do the companies we have in Turkey. There are just fewer of them, and they tend to be bigger.
Where have you gone on vacation that you can’t wait to re-visit…and why?
I would love to go to new places where I have never been before such as Turks and Caicos Islands, but I certainly wouldn’t mind going back to Turkey again.
Which of the many awards you’ve won is the most special to you…and why?
All of my awards are important to me, but if I have to pick one it would be the Gold Medal from the New York ballet competition. It’s because in the 25 years that it had been held before I won it in 2003, only one male dancer had received the Gold Medal (Jose Manuel Carreno, a principal with ABT). The competition really helped me to get recognized in the ballet world.
Who are some of your favorite choreographers with whom you’ve worked…and why?
Alexander Ekman, Jeniffer Archibald, and Val Caniparolli. The unique quality of movement, work ethic, level of entertainment for the audience, and leadership from all three is very strong.
What are your favorite roles to dance…and why?
Basillo in Don Quixote. It was my first big full-length ballet to dance when I was 20, and it was first ballet I ever staged by myself. I love the story ballets where you can act, such as Prodigal Son, Solor in La Bayadere, Jose in Carmen, to name just a few. I approach so many great roles sincerely and open-minded.
How important are new works to a ballet company…and to Cincinnati Ballet, in particular?
They are “must have’s” if you want to be a leading company. You have to keep creating and never be satisfied, and all artists should always be on a search for something new. And, audiences DO rightfully expect that from Cincinnati Ballet.
As this is Musical Director Carmon DeLeone’s 50thAnniversary with the Company, talk to us about the role of music as it relates to the ballet. Who – in your opinion – is/was the best composer of music for classical dance…and why?
Music and dance are two inseparable things, and dancers have to be very musical if they want to be on top. I can think of many good musicians when it comes to ballet music, but I have seen how some people answer this question almost trying to show their knowledge of composers. I will not do that. Some of my favorites are Tchaikovsky, Minkus, and Khahaturian. These particular composers have given ballet dancers timeless gifts, so I want to acknowledge them.
What are your dreams for Cincinnati Ballet in the years ahead?
I would love for Cincinnati Ballet to be known even more around the world and US by touring more. I want our company to grow even stronger, and that includes more shows and more dancers. I think we’re really on a good path to achieve this. I love my job and the responsibilities that come with this leadership. And that includes always looking forward to improving myself and everyone around me.