By MerrilHope

Dance me to the end of love.

Today this banner proudly straddles the entry to the theatre and outside forum as it has done for the last five years for one special Sunday in April.

I never knew Berkol. He graduated in June 1998, just weeks before I started to work here. He had, I am told, an extraordinary talent and passion for physics and after his undergraduate and masters degrees had a very promising future in the field. He also, I am told, had a passion for dance - especially Tango.

In 2007, Berkol's promising future was cut short when he lost his life in a plane crash in Turkey. He was twenty seven. I remember hearing about it on the local news. The following year, my friend and colleague, who had been Berkol's physics teacher, talked to me about how the family wanted some kind of rememberance for their son at this school that he loved so much. Rather than some kind of static memorial, I suggested we might have a living event - doing something that Berkol loved - the family liked the idea and so, in the Spring of 2009, Robert College hosted the first Berkol RC'98 Latin Dance and Tango Festival with some local Istanbul schools participating.

Today was the fifth all-day Dance Festival and, as always, I was backstage 'manager' for the final afternoon performance. The welcome that I got from Berkol's parents - I don't deserve such affection when I never taught their son - is humbling, but their embrace is indescribably important to me.

I don't want this to be a maudlin entry - in fact, I want it to be joyous. Today ten different schools participated with their dance teams, involving a record number of sequin clad teenagers and their excitement backstage was palpable, their dancing was terrific and the theatre was full of students and their families from all over Istanbul. These young dancers never knew Berkol but, they are his legacy.

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