Just like the Olympics, the USA International Ballet Competition rolls around every four years. This year, it starts this weekend, June 12, and runs to June 17, and is always held in Jackson, MS. Ever heard of it? As a Dance Nerd, it is another event of which you should be very familiar! Well, here's the scoop, as taken from the competition's official website:
One of the world’s most prestigious dance events, the USA International Ballet Competition is a two-week “olympic-style” competition where tomorrow’s ballet stars vie for gold, silver, and bronze medals; cash awards and scholarships. Designated as the official USA Competition by a 1982 Joint Resolution of Congress, the USA IBC is held every four years, in the tradition of sister competitions in Varna, Bulgaria and Moscow, Russia.
It can be a stepping stone to a dancer’s career. The audience is filled with company directors interested in hiring dancers, and for this reason, many dancers leave with contracts. This is possibly the grandest prize of all.I have previously posted about Rasta Thomas (Bad Boys of Dance) and Kathy Thibodeaux (Ballet Magnificat!), who were both IBC competitors and award recipients. Many other ballet stars began their careers at this competition, stars such as Nina Ananiashvili (Grand Prix 1986), Jose Manuel Carreño (Grand Prix 1990), Irina Dvorovenko (Junior Silver 1990), Adrienne Canterna (Junior Gold 1998), Sarah Lamb (Senior Silver 2002), and Sarah Lane (Junior Silver 2002).
According to wikipedia.org:
Competitors are selected by a jury of dance professionals based on written applications and video auditions. There are two categories — seniors 19 to 26 and juniors 15 to 18. During the performances an international panel judges each dancer on the basis of artistry, technical skill and musicality. Highest and lowest scores are thrown out for each dancer’s performance to avoid any bias from any single judge.
The competition consists of three rounds. In the first round each competitor must perform two solo variations or couples can perform a pas de deux selected from a repertoire set by the jury. Top scoring dancers advance to the second round where they must perform a modern work. These contemporary pieces may be eligible for a choreography award. Finalist must perform a classical piece from a pre-selected list and a contemporary piece in the third round. Points from all three rounds are totaled to determine medalist in the junior and senior divisions. Note that these rules are typically adjusted each year at the discretion of the judges.
Medalists receive cash awards of up to ten thousand dollars but the real reward is the exposure before officials from ballet companies across the world.
Jurgita Dronina - 2006 USA IBC Silver Medalist, Photo by Richard Finkelstein
Think you can make it to watch the competition? Well, anyone can watch, as long as you purchase a ticket!