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Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
Performance Reviews
multiple locations

New York International Ballet Competition 2007

by Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
June 24, 2007
Rose Theater
Frederick P. Rose Hall
Home of Jazz at Lincoln Center
About the Author:

(Read about NYIBC 2005)

Honoring Fernando Bujones

Rose Theater
Frederick P. Rose Hall
(Rose Theater Website)

ILONA COPEN: Founder/Executive Director
ELEANOR D'ANTUONO: Artistic Director
Igor Youskevitch (1983-94): Artistic Director

The 2007 Jury:
Valentina Kozlova (USA): Chairperson, former Principal Dancer, Bolshoi Ballet and New York City Ballet,
currently Director of Ballet Conservatory of New York
Kathryn Bennetts (Australia): Artistic Director, Royal Ballet of Flanders
Claude Bessy (France): former Director, Paris Opera Ballet School
Dinna Bjorn (Denmark): Artistic Director, Finnish National Ballet
Yoko Morishita (Japan): Associate Director, Matsuyama Ballet
Ashley Page (Great Britain): Artistic Director, Scottish Ballet
Krzysztof Pastor (Poland): Resident Choreographer, Dutch National Ballet
Igal Perry (Israel): Director, Peridance Company and School
Mauricio Wainrot (Argentina): Artistic Director, Ballet Contemporaneo

Coaches: Winthrop Corey, Fabrice Herrault, Roni Mahler,
Victoria Mazzarelli, Deborah Wingert

Company Teachers: Fabrice Herrault, trained at L'École de Danse de L'Opéra de Paris
Roni Mahler, Artistic Associate of Ballet, San Jose Silicon Valley

Gala Guest Artists/NYIBC Alumni:
Alexei Agoudine (2003 Bronze Medalist, of ABT)
Kathleen Breen Combes (2003 Lefkowitz Award, of Boston Ballet)
Joseph Gatti (2005 Gold Medalist, of Cincinnati Ballet)

Publicity: Audrey Ross

Announcement of the Winners:

No Gold
Wu Husheng (China), Silver and a Contract with ABT
Kwi Sub Park (Korea), Bronze

Eun Ji Ha (Korea), Gold
Na Eun Kim (Korea) and Karina Gonzalez (Venezuela), Silver
Seung-Won Shin (Korea), Bronze

Lefkowitz Award to Ricardo Graziano (Brazil),
Jung Jae Young (Korea), Young-Do Lee (Korea)

Igor Youskevitch Award to Wu Husheng (China):
a one-year contract with American Ballet Theatre, presented by Wes Chapman on behalf of Kevin McKenzie

Bebe Neuwirth: Host
Ilona Copen: Founder/Director of NYIBC
Eleanor D'Antuono: Artistic Director
Tonight was a great night for young dancers from Korea, as one can see in the awards listed above. In fact, there were six Korean performers at the NYIBC Gala tonight, and they sparkled with elegance and charisma. Forty-eight dancers from nineteen countries participated in the two-week preparation workshops, that preceded the public competition. Ilona Copen and Eleanor D'Antuono introduced the judges, coaches, and winners, and Cynthia Gregory (ABT Alumna) and Ms. D'Antuono recalled Fernando Bujones' finest moments in his special Gold Medal. Mr. Bujones' widow accepted the honorary medal on his behalf.

Bebe Neuwirth, Broadway and television star, was tonight's witty and charming host, as she ushered in the various finalists, winners, and guests, appearing in solos and duos. Included were the three competition pieces: Coppélia (Act III, Pas de Deux), taught and coached by Deborah Wingert, formerly of NYC Ballet, Swan Lake (Black Swan Pas de Deux), taught and coached by Winthrop Corey, Artistic Director of the Mobile Ballet, and "Divertimento", choreographed and coached by NYIBC Alumna and 1984 Gold Medalist, Victoria Mazzarelli, to a Hayden score.

Among the high points of tonight's Gala performance was "Sweet Milonga", performed by Tatiana Mersan of Paraguay, a sexy, sassy Argentine dance, to the rhythm of a Milonga, choreographed by Alejandro Diaz Lanz, music by Mariano Mores. Another highlight was Joseph Gatti's "Le Corsaire", a Petipa favorite, that he danced solo with bravura confidence. Joseph Gatti, a NYIBC Gold Medalist in 2005, is now with Cincinnati Ballet. Sanija Abilmajineva of Uzbekistan was quite adorable and engaging in the Chaplinesque "Old Film Shots", dancing like Chaplin, with mustache, cane, hat, baggy pants, and crooked walk. It was choreographed by Elena Baryshnikova to a Duke Ellington score.

The three competition pieces were performed once each. In the Coppélia, Karina Gonzalez of Venezuela, Ricardo Graziano of Brazil, and Wu Husheng of China danced the Adagio, Coda, and two Variations, with professional figures and lifts. Program notes said the style was Arthur Saint-Léon. In the Swan Lake, Eun Ji Ha and Kwi Sub Park of Korea danced the "Black Swan Pas de Deux" with lightning timing and some theatricality as well. In the "Divertimento", Seung-Won Shin and Young-Do Lee, both of Korea, showcased Ms. Mazzarelli's stunning work. Kwi Sub Park entertained with a humorous and disco-infused, "Jumping Bicycle", choreographed by Chang Young Sung, and Alexei Agoudine, a Competition Alumnus, of ABT, danced his own solo work, to his own music, called "Sonata Minor". Kathleen Breen Combes, another Competition Alumna, of Boston Ballet, shone in "Alquibla", by Anatol Yanowsky.

A number of works were of the modern genre, with similar choreography, sometimes too similar. These included "Shadow in the Water", danced by Eun Ji Ha of Korea, "Twisted Shadow", danced by Elina Miettinen of Finland, choreographed by Jorma Elo, and "In Shadow", danced by Jung Jae Young of Korea. Many of the new pieces began in silence. More interesting works were "Folia", "Crash", "Close Eyes", and "Wild", danced respectively by participants from the USA, Brazil, and Korea. "Folia" was a swing ballet en pointe, danced by Kiri Chapman in a bright blue and red dress. The Asian score, resembling fiddle music, was lovely. Two other notable performances were "La Cortesana", by Vicent Nebrada, danced by Karina Gonzalez, and "Where Are You My Love?", by Robert Mainrano, to a Django Reinhardt score, danced by Roddy Doble.

The next New York International Ballet Competition and Gala will take place in June 2009. This is always a well-organized and high energy series of performances, not only the final Gala, but the competition events as well. Kudos to Ilona Copen and Eleanor D'Antuono for another successful production.
Seung-Won Shin of Korea, winner of a Bronze medal and Young-Do Lee of Korea, winner of a Lefkowitz Award for Artistic Achievement. 'Divertimento' by Victoria Mazzarelli

Seung-Won Shin of Korea, winner of a Bronze medal and Young-Do Lee of Korea, winner of a Lefkowitz Award for Artistic Achievement. 
"Divertimento" by Victoria Mazzarelli

Photo © & courtesy of Whitney Browne

Karina Gonzalez of Venezuela, winner of a Silver Medal. 'La Cortesana' by Vicent Nebrada

Karina Gonzalez of Venezuela, winner of a Silver Medal.
"La Cortesana" by Vicent Nebrada

Photo © & courtesy of Whitney Browne

Eun Ji Ha of Korea, winner of a Gold Medal, and Kwi Sub Park of Korea, winner of a Bronze Medal. 'Black Swan Pas de Deux'

Eun Ji Ha of Korea, winner of a Gold Medal, and Kwi Sub Park of Korea, winner of a Bronze Medal.
"Black Swan Pas de Deux"

Photo © & courtesy of Whitney Browne

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