Jemil Akman

Hello

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Not sure what to say here but I am a recent member returning to my roots of dance. A little about me... I started dancing as a kid on the Mississippi Riverboats (they are now all Casinos) and spent summers performing at the Muny Opera in St. Louis (and all the other theatres on the Starlight tour circuit) and winters with the St. Louis Civic Ballet under the late great Stanley Herbertt. I also studied under Michael Simms, Nathalie LeVine, Gary Hubler and many others.

After high school, I went to Oklahoma University and studied with Miguel Terekhov, Yvonne Chouteau, Victoria Leigh and Ko Yokohiro before being invited to go to the Joffrey Ballet in New York. I ended up performing with them for six seasons and went on tour with Nureyev and friends. My mentor there was Meredith Bayliss, and when she relocated to Los Angeles, I often popped in on her class to watch or give a few pointers to the men about pirouettes until she passed away.

In my career, I worked on Broadway, also at the International Festival in Europe, performed with Gene Kelly, Chita Rivera, Ann Reinkin, and with about a dozen different ballet companies. In the 1990's, I returned to college (Lindenwood) and in addition to completing my education, I also filled in for the head of the department to teach all her classes for a year when she stepped out for medical reasons.

I don't dance as much now but it keeps popping back into my life. A friend recently wrote their first feature film and wrote me in as the older, out of shape Russian Ballet teacher who yells at the kids and makes them cry. Fun stuff and the kids were really good sports.

I don't get a chance to write as often as I like but fee free to say hello and reconnect if you know me... or not. Ok, enough said... Keep Dancing!

Jemil Akman

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Welcome to Ballet Talk, Jamil; it's very nice to have you with us. With your broad background in ballet you have much to share with us. We hope you'll participate in our discussions and share you experiences and knowledge.

Giannina

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This is the most exciting Welcome person post I've ever read here. I hope you will post in all the forums, because your experience is wonderful and you know a lot about things that most don't. The Riverboats alone is pretty cool, but you are so versatile and must know just all sorts of things. Please, please, please--write all over the place!

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