Rana Evcim

Rana Evcim O’Brien started her ballet training with Krassa Arzumanova in Istanbul when she was only 3 years old. When her parents moved from European side of Istanbul to the Asian side, Madam Arzumanova recommended Yildiz Alpar Emiroglu, a student of Mdm Arzumanova’s to be Rana’s ballet teacher. Rana graduated from Yildiz Alpar’s School in 1976 but she continued her classes with her. During that year, Mrs Audrey Knight Ellis was sent to Istanbul by the Royal Academy of Dancing to start teaching the RAD syllabus to Turkish ballet students. Rana attended this course and she was given “Highly Commended” by her examiner Jean Nuckey. She then attended Summer School Courses at the RAD HQ and continued training in Yildiz Alpar’s School finally taking the second level of Vocational tier examinations (now called Advanced 1, then it was called Intermediate) at the HQ and again was given “Highly Commended”. This time her examiner was Joy Camden.

In the meanwhile Rana graduated from Uskudar American Academy and she was offered a contract by Istanbul State Opera and Ballet Company when she was only 18. Rana danced in all classical ballets, her favorite one being the Cygnets in “Swan Lake”, The Blue Bird in the “Sleeping Beauty”, Juliette’s friend in “Romeo and Juliette”, Giselle’s friend in “Giselle”. She was an understudy of Lisa in “La Fille Mal Gardée”. She also danced in numerous opera ballets and she played the part of Consuela in Istanbul State Theatre’s Production of “West Side Story”

Rana attended Bosphorus University “Western Languages and Literature” department at the same time as she was a company member with ISOB. She gained her BA in English Literature in 1984. In 1992 when Istanbul Ballet was under Richard Glasstone Rana applied to the Laban Centre for Movement and Dance MA in Dance Studies. She was accepted and she was awarded a scholarship by the British Council in Istanbul to go to London. After being awarded her MA, Rana returned to Istanbul. She started writing dance critique in daily newspaper Cumhuriyet, monthly arts magazine Milliyet Sanat. She worked as a volunteer in TOBAV (Theatre, Opera and Ballet Artists Organization) as an administrator. In 1994 Turkish Government had plans to cut down the arts budget. Two bus full of TOBAV members went to Ankara, capital of the Turkish Republic; they visited the Turkish Parliament and spoke to a number of ministers. Budget cutbacks were withdrawn and this was closely reported by the press.

Having married a man from Belfast, Rana moved to Belfast Northern Ireland in 1997. She started teaching ballet in St Teresa’s Youth Centre to a few girls. In 2003, she officially established her school Rana’s School of Ballet. The school has been growing ever since.