Benois de la Danse nominee

Aysem Sunal studied ballet at the State Conservatory in her native Ankara. She made her professional debut with the Ankara State Ballet, where she danced principal roles in Sleeping Beauty, Swan Lake, Les Sylphides and The Idiot. Robert Denvers noticed her talent at the International Competition in Osaka where she won the money Prize and invited her to join the Royal Ballet of Flanders as a demi-soloist in 1992.

Her first role was that of Cupid in Nureyev's Don Quixote. She was thereafter promoted to soloist and interpreted the title roles of Cinderella and Coppelia.

Her interpretation of these roles and her personal success in Giselle was crowned with praise by the international press, resulting in her promotion to principal in 1995. Leading roles in Vivaldi, Fatum, Variations, in the creation of Bach in Four Voices and especially Christopher d'Amboise's The Golden Mean, served to demonstrate her versatility and talent. These were shown once more in Siciliano, Messiah, Violin Concerto 1, Looking through Glass, Synchronicities, The Chairman Dances, Tango Plus, The Emperor's Dream, Death and Fire and Eight Seasons. Her dramatic gifts came to the fore in La Fille mal gardee, The Three Musketeers, Romeo & Juliet by Andre Prokovsky and Mauricio Wainrot's Carmina Burana.

During the 2000-2001 season her Aurora in Sleeping Beauty with The Royal Ballet of Flanders was praised by international reviewers and she became the highlight of the production at the Grand Opera House of Belfast. At the moment she excels as a virginal, vulnerable Odette in Jan Fabre' s Swan Lake.

Aysem is a regular guest with several other major ballet companies. In 1996 Aysem and her Cuban partner Joan Boada had an exciting two-week season at the Mogador Theatre in Paris, dancing pas de deux of the Petipa 19th century repertoire. Also with Boada and other stars of the Paris Opera, she guested several times in France at different gala's with Marie-Claude Pietragalla. She is a frequent guest artist in France, Germany and Turkey.

In September 2001 Aysem was one of the proud recipients of the Young CMBV Prize, a distinction awarded by the Belgian professional women's organization, Markant.