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NEW YORK INTERNATIONAL BALLET COMPETITION - AWARDS CEREMONY/GALA PERFORMANCE
ALICE TULLY HALL
Publicity: Audrey Ross
By Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
June 29, 2003
Announcement of the Winners:
CESAR MORALES - CHILE - GOLD
OGULCAN BOROVA - TURKEY - GOLD
KRISTOFFER SAKURAI - DENMARK - SILVER
JONATHAN JORDAN - USA - BRONZE
ALEXEI AGOUDINE - RUSSIA - BRONZE
LUDMILLA PAGLIERA - ARGENTINA - SILVER
VICTORIA JAIANI - GEORGIA - BRONZE
CAITLIN VALENTINE - USA - BRONZE
KATHLEEN BREEN COMBES, USA, RECEIVED
THE LEFKOWITZ AWARD FOR ARTISTIC ACHIEVEMENT
LUDMILLA PAGLIERO, ARGENTINA,
ALSO RECIPIENT OF A SILVER,
RECEIVED THE IGOR YOUSKEVITCH AWARD, A ONE-YEAR CONTRACT WITH AMERICAN BALLET THEATRE
CYNTHIA GREGORY also received an honorary Gold Medal
for her participation, either as teacher, coach, member of the Jury, or President of the Jury, in every NYIBC since its inception 20 years ago.
Ms. Gregory's Medal was awarded by Roni Mahler.
TONY RANDALL: Host for the Awards Ceremony
ILONA COPEN: Founder/Director of NYIBC
ELEANOR D'ANTUONO: Artistic Director
The 2003 Jury:
NATALIA MAKAROVA (USA) President of the Jury
FRANK ANDERSEN (Denmark) Artistic Director, Royal Danish Ballet
BORIS EIFMAN (Russia) Artistic Director, Eifman Ballet
KAREN KAIN (Canada) Associate Artistic Director, National Ballet of Canada
ELISABETH PLATEL (France) Paris Opera Ballet
GUSTAVO MOLLAJOLI (Argentina) Artistic Director, Ballet do Theatro Municipal do Rio de Janeiro
DAME MERLE PARK (England) Former Director, Royal Ballet School
RUDI VAN DANTZIG (The Netherlands), Former Artistic Director, Dutch National Ballet
Tony Randall, in black tie, endearingly reminded those of us in the audience, who had seen him onstage at the very first New York International Ballet Competition in 1984, that he was still wearing the same suit, and would re-appear in that suit in two years, at the 2005 Competition. Also onstage for the announcement of Medal Winners and other comments were Cynthia Gregory, Honoree, Ilona Copen, Founder/Executive Director, Eleanor D'Antuono, Artistic Director, Natalia Makarova, Chairperson of the Judges, and Kevin McKenzie, Artistic Director of ABT.
Each contestant arrived at the Competition early in June, prepared with a brief solo, just in case. Again, this was a predominantly male-driven event, with Gold Medals awarded to Cesar Morales of Chile and Ogulcan Borova of Turkey, a Silver Medal to Kristoffer Sakurai of Denmark, and two Bronze Medals awarded to Jonathan Jordan of the USA and Alexei Agoudine of Russia. The audience rose to its feet for a few of the solo performances, and there were no less than six solo performances tonight by these male winners of Gold, Silver, and Bronze. The organizers were clearly aware of this emerging talent pool of Premier Danseurs, and they showcased these dancers with opportunities for dynamism, athleticism, and theatricality.
Another male dancer, Takuma Oshiba, who may have won a Medal, had he not encountered such extreme talent among his competitors, also danced a humorous solo, Smoking Time, to music reminiscent of an Argentine Tango Milonga. In fact, the male winners chose Modern Dance for most solos, in contrast to the several nights of Classical Ballet presentations. Mr. Morales' Rock your Body, to electric music, was sensational, with an obvious seduction of the adoring audience. Mr. Borova's Stalking, also of a contemporary motif, exhibited his virtuosity and youthful vitality. Mr. Jordan's Possession was percussive and driven, and Mr. Sakurai's When Without was contemporary with American lyrics. Alexei Agoudine's Time had the intensity and feel of Samba.
There were outstanding solos and duets from the female finalists and winners, as well. Saori Nagata, of Japan, danced solo in a long red dress, evocative of Martha Graham, in Red, from the film, The Tango Lesson. Ludmilla Pagliero, Silver Medal Winner from Argentina, partnered with Mr. Morales in their winning Pas de Deux from La Bayadère. In fact, there was a scattered presentation tonight of the three pieces performed during Rounds I, II, and III, choreographed by Bournonville, Petipa, and Limón, which created a nice structure to the Gala evening's selection of performed works.
Caitlin Valentine, Bronze Medal Winner from the USA, danced a passionate solo, Sweet Sorrow, to the poignant and dissonant violin music of Sarah Chang. Victoria Jaiani, Bronze Medal Winner of Georgia, danced the Limon piece, Mazurkas, to music of Chopin, with her Georgian partner, Temur Suluashvili. Ms. Jaiani seemed more poised and prepared on the two occasions on which I saw them dance together, and I would like to see her dance solo or with another partner at some point, as she is superbly talented in Classical Ballet and effectively theatrical. She reminds me of Nina Ananiashvili of ABT, also from Georgia.
There were additional solos and duets, all very entertaining, and most a bravura addition to the already male-dominated event. Guest artists included Stephanie Murrish, who danced to Rachmaninoff, in the exquisite Forgotten Moment, Venti Petrov, who danced with male muscularity, Broadway style, to the sound of a musical typewriter, in Patent Pending, Bernard Courtot de Bouteiller, who danced with multiple spins to Bejart's Firebird Variation, music by Stravinsky, and Mikhail Ilyin, who performed in a tuxedo costume Villella's choreography of Glenn Miller's Saint Louis Blues March.
Kudos to Ilona Copen, Eleanor D'Antuono, Cynthia Gregory, Natalia Makarova and the distinguished Jury of Judges, to Tony Randall, and to all the Contestants and Winners of this most memorable New York International Ballet Competition. I look forward to June, 2005 with eager anticipation.