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New York International Ballet Competition 2009

by Marian Horosko
June 28, 2009
Lincoln Center
Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, Inc.
140 West 65th Street
New York, NY 10023
212.875.5456
Although the NYIBC usually attracts a high level of competitors, this year's group, 17 to 24 years of age, that performed at the Rose Theater at the Time Warner Building on June 28, was a bland group. It was a 25th anniversary for the competition of pas de deuxs, and solo works, and the leave-taking of its tireless founder Ilona Copen. The opening awards ceremony recognized the services of its artistic director, Eleanore D'Antuono and acknowledged the 48 competitors who came from 17 countries in Europe, South America, the USA, Greece, Estonia and other countries.

Unique to the NYIBC is the requirement that contestants perform a pas de deux of the competition's choosing…this year from "Raymonda," "Paquita," and the duet from Paul Taylor's "Aureole," as well as individual choices.

Despite the exemplary choices of world-renown judges and coaches, the entrants were not inspired during the gala performance, except for the solos by Artjom Maksakov of Estonia and Brazilian, Ricardo Santos. Young male dancers usually rightly choose soulfully songs as accompaniment that gives them a chance to exhibit a range of physical and emotional angst.

Competitions present a showcase for the participants to gain medals, a one-year contract with the Joffrey Ballet/Chicago in this case, and offers by directors who choose participants suitable to their companies repertoire and needs. Reason enough to compete, especially with expenses in NY paid by the NYIBC. There was no gold medal awarded this year, but a silver went to Amber Neumam (USA) and bronze medals were awarded each to Yong Jung Rhee (Korea) and Olga Malinovskaya (Russia); Silver to John Mark Giragosian (USA) with bronze to Ricardo Santos (Brazil) and Artjom Makasakov (Estonia); and artistic award went to Jia Zhang (China). The contract to the Joffrey company went to Ricardo Santos (Brazil).

Especially created for the event was an "age appropriate" pas de deux for former winners Victoria Mazzarelli and Alexander Proia.

Competitions make everyone a winner for having learned the material, competed against other dancers and evaluated their self-worth. As in all competitions and auditions, choices are not always fair but subject to the needs of artistic directors for their companies.
Artjom Maksakov (Estonia) and partner Olga Malinovskaya (Russia).  Both won Bronze at the 2009 New York International Ballet Competition.

Artjom Maksakov (Estonia) and partner Olga Malinovskaya (Russia). Both won Bronze at the 2009 New York International Ballet Competition.

Photo © & courtesy of Whitney Browne

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