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NEW YORK INTERNATIONAL BALLET COMPETITION 2005
- Onstage with the Dancers

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www.nyibc.org

Rounds II, III, and AWARDS CEREMONY/GALA PERFORMANCE

JUNE 24, 25, 26, 2005
ALICE TULLY HALL
(Tully Hall Website)


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

Honoring Violette Verdy, Gold Medal for Lifetime Achievement
(Verdy Bio)

The 2005 Jury:
Victoria Morgan, Chairperson
Maria Eugenia Barrios, AndrÈ Lewis, Dame Merle Park,
Alexei Ratmansky, Victor Ullate, Hans van Manen,
Stanton Welch, Xin Lili

Coaches: Winthrop Corey, Roxane D'OrlÈans Juste, Valentina Kozlova, Deborah Wingert, Hector Zaraspe

by Dr. Robert E. Zlokower
June 24, 25, 26, 2005

Originally Published on ExploreDance.com

Round I, II, III Dancers and Winners: See NYIBC 2005 Website

Gala Guest Artists/NYIBC Alumni:
Victoria Mazzarelli, 1984 Gold Medallist
Norbert Nirewicz, 2000 Finalist
Ogulcan Borova, 2003 Gold Medallist
Mari Savitsky, 2003
Caitline Valentine, 2003 Bronze Medallist


Publicity: Audrey Ross
audreyrosspub@aol.com

Announcement of the Winners:

MEN
Joseph Gatti, USA, Gold
Daniel Sarabia, Cuba, Silver
Altankhuyag Dugaraa, Mongolia, Bronze

WOMEN
No Gold
Christine Rocas, Philippines, Silver
Hanae Seki, Japan, Bronze, and Arpino Contract with the Joffrey Ballet

Adriana Santini: Mistress of Ceremonies
With
Ilona Copen: Founder/Director of NYIBC
Eleanor D'Antuono: Artistic Director

Round I Competition Piece: La Fille Mal GardÈe, Pas de Deux (1789): Music by Ferdinand Harold, Choreography by Jean Dauberval, Coached and Staged by Winthrop Corey, Lighting by Jeff Fontaine, Costume Sketches by Natalie Garfinkle.

Round II Competition Piece: Choreographic Offering (1964), Music by Johann Sebastian Bach, Choreography by Jose LimÛn, Coached and Staged by Roxane D'OrlÈans Juste, Lighting by Jeff Fontaine, Costume Sketches by Natalie Garfinkle.

Solos: Dancers prepare their own solos prior to arriving at NYIBC.

Round III Competition Piece: Satanella, Pas de Deux (1848), Carnival in Venice, Music by Cesare Pugni, Choreography by Marius Petipa, Coached and Staged by Valentina Kozlova, Lighting by Jeff Fontaine, Costume Sketches by Natalie Garfinkle.



Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
June 24, 25, 26 2005


Once again, students aged seventeen to twenty-four, arrived from around the world to participate in what is now a bi-annual, rather than the previous tri-annual event, the New York International Ballet Competition (NYIBC), held at Alice Tully Hall, Lincoln Center. Ilona Copen founded the first of eight competitions in 1984, and I was there to see Victoria Mazzarelli win the gold. Ms. Mazzarelli was one of five guest artists dancing at the final NYIBC Gala, and she remains radiant and sprightly.

For two weeks, twenty-four young competing couples practiced their own solos, as well as three designated competition pieces, at the Joan Weill Center for Dance on the West Side, not far from Tully Hall, where Rounds I, II, III, and the Gala would be presented. The couples arrive either together or solo, to be matched by Ms. Copen, Ms. D'Antuono, and/or staff with a suitable partner. They practice the arrangements, two classical ballets and one modern, together in equally timed segments, so that there is an equally competitive chance to be successful.

Students have the individual opportunity (awarded for the dancer, not the two partners) to win gold, bronze, or silver medals. Sometimes a student is also awarded an apprenticeship contract to a major dance company. In addition, each dance competition participant has the chance to be seen by all the judges on the four nights at Tully Hall. These judges are artistic directors of major ballet companies. Students are also given housing, meals, "host family" logistical assistance, and Broadway and Lincoln Center ballet tickets. Translators are available, and students translate for each other, as well.

Below are photos taken during the two-week competition rehearsals in June.



NY International Ballet Competition Rehearsal
Photo courtesy of Roberta E. Zlokower




NY International Ballet Competition Rehearsal
Photo courtesy of Roberta E. Zlokower




NY International Ballet Competition Rehearsal
Photo courtesy of Roberta E. Zlokower




NY International Ballet Competition Rehearsal
Photo courtesy of Roberta E. Zlokower




NY International Ballet Competition Rehearsal
Photo courtesy of Roberta E. Zlokower




NY International Ballet Competition Rehearsal
Photo courtesy of Roberta E. Zlokower




NY International Ballet Competition Rehearsal
Photo courtesy of Roberta E. Zlokower




NY International Ballet Competition Rehearsal
Photo courtesy of Roberta E. Zlokower




NY International Ballet Competition Rehearsal
Photo courtesy of Roberta E. Zlokower




NY International Ballet Competition Rehearsal
Photo courtesy of Roberta E. Zlokower




NY International Ballet Competition Rehearsal
Photo courtesy of Roberta E. Zlokower




NY International Ballet Competition Rehearsal
Photo courtesy of Roberta E. Zlokower




NY International Ballet Competition Rehearsal
Photo courtesy of Roberta E. Zlokower




NY International Ballet Competition Rehearsal
Photo courtesy of Roberta E. Zlokower





My schedule did not permit me to attend Round I, but La Fille Mal GardÈe was repeated at the Gala by soloists, Daniel Sarabia, Cuba, and Hanae Seki, Japan, plus two couples from the Philippines and China. Round II included the opportunity to see Choreographic Offering fourteen times, fourteen couples. It was an elegant modern piece, with long sweeping gestures, solid yellow or orange unitards, barefoot dancers, and, in each instance, differently interpreted.

Some dancers, four of whom had already been eliminated from prize-winning status, were smiling and buoyant, others more serious and intense. Some looked into the distance, while others gazed upon each other. One couple exuded enthusiasm and energy, while another was more lyrical and languid. One male partner appeared a bit stiff and taut, while his female partner was flexible and extended. Each couple had to dance on several levels and rise and lift from the floor of the stage. Jose LimÛn's work is fascinating to watch, and it was an excellent choice for this Round. Roxane D'OrlÈans Juste did a fine job of coaching and staging this complicated work.

The twenty-four solos, presented after intermission, ranged from Tanguedia, choreographed by Tara Milton Catao to music by Piazzolla (one of two works set to Piazzolla's music), to Go with the Opportunity, choreographed by Gao Chen Ming to music by Defalla. Most of the scores and dance styles in this section were contemporary, some with electronic effects and spoken overtones. Few were traditional or familiar in genre, and a few were too campy and ill conceived. However, all dancers exhibited superb skills and professional training. Some of my favorites were Reflection on the Water, classically danced by Eliana Figueroa from Argentina to a Debussy score, , dynamically danced by Yassaui Mergaliyev from Kazakhstan to a Mancini score, and Libre, percussively danced by Daniel Sarabia from Cuba to a Carlinos Brown score.

Round III included a twelve couple consecutive performance of Petipa's Satanella Pas de Deux, coached and staged by Valentina Kozlova. With backward leaps for the males, lightning spins for the females, elegant pointe work, and aristocratic and meticulously challenging choreography, each couple brought something special to this Round III. Seventeen of the twenty-four dancers were still competing, and fatigue barely set in, in spite of the week's hot weather, as the participants valiantly exuded full energy and enthusiasm in every step and spin. In some cases, long-time partners gave each other poignant support, even though one may have been already eliminated in the previous round, such as in the case of USA's Adam Stein (eliminated) and Nicholle Rochelle (competing). The sight of young ballet dancers warming up in the wings was quite reminiscent of Degas' natural paintings of ballet and dance rehearsals.

The Awards Ceremony/Gala Performance was a beautifully orchestrated series of events, and Ilona Copen and Eleanor D'Antuono are to be congratulated for what must have been a most challenging planning experience, even given the fact that this was the eighth NYIBC Gala event. Violette Verdy, formerly of NYC Ballet, who now teaches at Indiana University, was awarded a gold medal for lifetime achievement. Adriana Santini was a warm hostess, but I did so miss the late Tony Randall, who had so elegantly hosted this event throughout the years.

The Youskevitch Award, a one-year contract with American Ballet Theatre, was not awarded this year, but Joseph Gatti, winner of the male division Gold, is already a member of ABT Studio Company. The Arpino Award, a one-year contract with the Joffrey Ballet, went to Christine Rocas of the Philippines. Daniel Sarabia of Cuba won Silver, and Altankhuyag Dugaraa of Mongolia won Bronze. No Gold went to the females, but Ms. Rocas won Silver, and Hanae Seki of Japan won Bronze.

All of the three competition pieces were repeated, as were several solos. In addition, five guest artists, who were winners of NYIBC in past seasons, entertained this crowd of extreme dance enthusiasts. Caitlin Valentine danced Stand by Me to music of BB King, Mari Savitski danced Bagatelle to "Traditional" music, Norbert Nirewicz danced Barcelona to a mixed score, Ogulcan Borova (whom I remembered as quite virtuosic in 2003) danced Both of Me to a Santana score, and Victoria Mazzarelli, winner of Gold in the very first NYIBC in 1984, danced The Second Detail to a Thom Willems score.

La Fille Mal GardÈe was performed, as mentioned above, with various participants in the Adagio, two Variations, and Coda. The LimÛn piece was presented tonight by Katie Pivarnik, USA, and Glyn Scott, Australia, who seemed to be perfectly matched throughout these events. Joseph Gatti and Isabelle Boynton danced the final competition piece, Satanella, which allowed Gatti to show his classical power and vivacious vitality. Andre Teixera from Brazil danced a Piazzolla scored Toccata with black briefs and glowing muscularity. Christine Rocas' Rituals, to a Joey Ayala score, allowed the audience to once again see her elegance and elasticity.

Gatti's Burning Heart, a self-choreographed solo with a Jutras Benoit score, was repeated as the closing work and brought the audience to its feet. Mr. Gatti has a mesmerizing presence, mature poise, and sensational style and skills. He's definitely a dancer to watch, as he engages the audience with his primal force. Candid photos were taken outside Tully Hall, following this memorable NYIBC 2005 Gala. Kudos to Ilona Copen, Eleanor D'Antuono, Judges, Coaches, Choreographers, technicians, Audrey Ross Publicity, and the entire ensemble of forty-eight NYIBC participants for another successful NYIBC 2005 that satisfied even the most ardent balletomane.



Richard Holbrooke and Friends, NYIBC Guests
Photo courtesy of Roberta E. Zlokower




Cecilia Saia and Bob Gluck, Guests
Photo courtesy of Roberta E. Zlokower




NYIBC Participants from China
Photo courtesy of Roberta E. Zlokower




Daniel Sarabia, Silver Medal Winner from Cuba
Photo courtesy of Roberta E. Zlokower




Cecilia Saia and Hector Zaraspe, Coach
Photo courtesy of Roberta E. Zlokower




Victoria Morgan, Cincinnati Ballet, NYIBC Judge
Photo courtesy of Roberta E. Zlokower




NYIBC Candid
Photo courtesy of Roberta E. Zlokower




Ethan Stiefel, ABT, Guest
Photo courtesy of Roberta E. Zlokower




Cecilia Saia and Raymond Lukens, Boston Ballet, Guest
Photo courtesy of Roberta E. Zlokower




Joseph Gatti and Isabella Boylston, NYIBC Participants
Photo courtesy of Roberta E. Zlokower




Joseph Gatti, ABT Studio Co., Gold Medal Winner, NYIBC
Photo courtesy of Roberta E. Zlokower




NYIBC Participants from Kazakhstan
Photo courtesy of Roberta E. Zlokower

 

For more information, contact Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower at zlokower@bestweb.net