Tanju and Patricia Tuzer opened their first ballet school, the Tuzer School of Ballet, in 1977. In 1985, as their reputation spread and the enrollment grew, they designed and constructed The Tuzer Dance School in Richardson, which houses both the school and the Tuzer Ballet Company. For over 31 years the Tuzers have been the Directors of the Tuzer Dance School, Artistic Directors of the Tuzer Ballet Company, and principal ballet instructors at the school. Tanju Tuzer was born in Istanbul, Turkey. At the age of nine he began his dance training at the Ankara State Conservatory under the direction of Molly and Travis Kemp, former dancers with Pavlova.
After nine years he joined the Turkish Ballet, where he danced for four years. He studied as a scholarship student with the Royal Ballet in London. His first engagement in a foreign country was in Hamburg, Germany in 1968. Two years later he joined the Harkness Ballet in New York City as a principal dancer. In 1975 he went to Europe, dancing in Strasbourg, France for one year and then performing in Germany as a principal dancer in John Neumeier’s Hamburg Ballet company. Mr. Tuzer has performed lead roles in multiple classic ballets such as Swan Lake, Romeo and Juliet, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Cinderella, Don Quixote Pas De Deux, Le Corsaire, Giselle, Balanchine’s Agon, Four Temperaments, and Symphony in C. Tanju has shared the stage with many legends in his time, including the famous Margot Fonteyn. Now in Richardson, he brings a European touch to the art of ballet. Mr. Tuzer is as adept at staging the classics for his young dancers as he is at choreographing new exciting works to display their talents.
Patricia (Machette) Tuzer was born in Dallas, where she began her dance training at the age of three. During her early teens she was accepted to numerous summer workshops and received scholarships to several major New York companies, including New York City Ballet, Harkness Ballet, and Joffrey Ballet. In 1969, she accepted a full scholarship with the School of American Ballet and finished her academic classes at Professional Children’s School. In 1970 she joined Harkness Ballet in New York City, where she danced as a soloist and principal dancer in various notable ballets, including Firebird, Schubert Variations, Abyss, Nightsong, Rodin, and Souvenirs. It was during her time with Harkness Ballet that she met her future husband, Tanju Tuzer. In 1975 she moved to Europe, where she danced as a soloist before also joining John Neumeier’s Hamburg Ballet in Germany.
In 1977, Patricia and Tanju Tuzer moved to Dallas and opened their first ballet school. They formed the Richardson Ballet and staged their first performance of The Nutcracker in 1982. In 1984 they created their own company, the Tuzer Ballet, which has danced to critical acclaim, both locally and internationally, for the past 31 years. Today over 4,000 attendees enjoy the Tuzer Nutcracker performances annually. The Tuzer’s relentless passion and dedication to classical ballet instruction has earned the Tuzer Dance School an undisputed reputation as one of the finest preparatory academies of its time. Many former students enjoy successful professional careers in major dance companies around the globe. Tanju and Patricia have solidly grown and enriched the Dallas dance community, inspiring thousands of dancers over the past 40 years.