Edward Villella chairs distinguished 2014 panel
The USA International Ballet Competition strives to provide dancers the opportunity to test their skills against the highest international standards.
The USA IBC was the first international competition to allow only one jury member per country, a requirement that has since been replicated by other competitions that seek to ensure fairness.
The 2014 International Jury, chaired by Edward Villella, USA, includes noted dance experts from around the world.
2014 International Jury Members
John Meehan joined the Australian Ballet in 1970, was promoted to principal dancer in 1974 and, in 1977, joined American Ballet Theatre as a principal dancer. He also appeared as guest artist with the New York City Ballet and the National Ballet of Canada. Meehan danced an extensive repertoire of classical and contemporary ballets, frequently partnering many important ballerinas, including Margot Fonteyn, Natalia Makarova, Merrill Ashley, Gelsey Kirkland, Cynthia Gregory and the Australian ballet stars Marilyn Rowe and Marilyn Jones. He served as artistic director of Canada’s Royal Winnipeg Ballet, the ABT Studio Company and the Hong Kong Ballet. He has been a jury member for the Prix de Lausanne, Youth America Grand Prix and the USA International Ballet Competition in Jackson. Meehan has taught and rehearsed repertoire for the American Ballet Theatre, the Joffrey Ballet, the Australian Ballet and the Houston Ballet. He currently is chair of dance at Vassar College.
André Lewis has spent the majority of his career with Canada’s first professional dance company, accepting the position of Artistic Director in 1996. Since then he has been the driving force behind the new and innovative works that have dramatically rejuvenated the Company’s repertoire. A native of Gatineau, Québec, Lewis began his dance training in Ottawa before being accepted into the Professional Division of the Royal Winnipeg Ballet School in 1975. He joined the RWB Company in 1979 where he enjoyed an accomplished career as a dancer for over ten years. Lewis has commissioned numerous blockbuster ballets such as Mark Godden’s Dracula in 1998 and Moulin Rouge ® – The Ballet in 2009. He was instrumental in the 1999 creation of a new Nutcracker for the Company and in 2002, Lewis brought to Winnipeg the thrilling and passionate Carmina Burana by Argentinean choreographer Mauricio Wainrot. In 2012, Lewis and Atlanta Ballet Artistic Director John McFall co-commissioned a new creation by celebrated choreographer Twyla Tharp titled Twyla Tharp’s The Princess & The Goblin. In 2013, Lewis commissioned another outstanding new creation in conjunction with New York choreographer Lila York. The full-length ballet The Handmaid’s Tale was a bold adaptation of the novel of the same name by Governor General Award-winning Canadian author, Margaret Atwood. In addition to his position as Artistic Director, Lewis is a sought-after ballet instructor and has guest taught throughout Europe and Japan.
As a principal dancer of the National Ballet of China, Feng Ying danced all leading roles of the company repertoire of her time, winning acclaims from her peers and audiences around the world. Following her appointment as the company director in 2009, she orchestrated the production of numerous world classic pieces, and participated in dozens of international events to exchange new ideas with peers around the world. She also led the company to international tours every year, including performances at Nijinsky Festival in Hamburg and Edinburgh International Art Festival. She has served as a jury member at the 19th Benios de la Danse inRussia, Helsinki International Ballet Competition, International Ballet Competition in Japan, 1st Beijing International Ballet and Choreography Competition, and Taoli Cup National Dance Competition in China.
Born in Tbilisi, Nina Ananiashvili became Georgia’s junior figure-skating champion at age 10, the same year she began studying ballet. She went on to the Moscow Choreographic Institute, affiliated with the Bolshoi Ballet, and joined the Bolshoi in 1981. She quickly advanced to the position of soloist and was a prima ballerina from 1985 to 2004. She has been prima ballerina for the American Ballet Theatre, danced as the first former-Soviet ballerina for the New York City Ballet and has performed leading parts on the major stages of the world. Since 2004, she has served as artistic director of the State Ballet of Georgia, helping it become a world-class company and producing numerous acclaimed productions, including, recently, Swan Lake (2012)and La Fille Mal Gardée (2013). Ananiashvili is the only ballerina awarded the four most prestigious ballet prizes: gold at the 10th International Ballet Competition, Varna, 1980; Grand Prix, 4th International Ballet Competition, Moscow, 1981; gold, 5th International Ballet Competition, Moscow, 1985; and Grand Prix, 3rd International Ballet Competition, Jackson, 1986. She was awarded the Order of the Star of Italian Solidarity in 2011 and was a member of the advisory board for the Rolex Arts Initiative in 2012–2013.
Gigi Hyatt received her training in her hometown of Berlin with Tatiana Gsovsky and continued it in 1974 in Munich with Konstanze Vernon at the Heinz-Bosl-Stiftung. In 1982, Hyatt won the gold in the Junior Division of the International Ballet Competition in Jackson and in the same year joined the Hamburg Ballet, directed by John Neumeier. In 1984, she was honored with the Wilhelm Oberdorffer Award and, in 1985, was named “Best Young Dancer” by Ballet International magazine. Hyatt was fortunate to dance in many ballets choreographed by John Neumeier and created numerous roles. In 1997, she moved to the USA, where she first became ballet mistress and teacher at The Georgia Ballet and School, and in 2004 assumed the position of artistic director. Hyatt returned to Hamburg in 2013 and is pedagogical principal and deputy director of the School of the Hamburg Ballet.
Born in Nagoya, Japan, Hideo Fukagawa studied ballet at the Ochi Ballet Company (Minoru Ochi) from the age of 14. He later studied under Jean-Claude Louise, John Cranko, Nora Kids and Yurgen Schneider. In 1965, he won third prize, bronze medal, at Varna International Ballet Competition. In 1969, he won a silver medal and the Nijinsky Award from Serge Lifar at the Moscow International Ballet Competition. He became a soloist at the Komische Opera, East Berlin, and won a silver (gold was not awarded) at the 1970 Varna International Ballet Competition. In 1971, he participated in the Ballet Gala Performance in London and joined the Stuttgart Ballet, under the direction of John Cranko. In 1973, he began a seven-year contract with Munich State Opera Theater as a first soloist dancer and was invited to perform across Europe and in the USA. He returned to Japan in 1980 and performed as a guest dancer as he began choreographing up to five new works a year, including a request in 2005 by John Cranko Shule. As an active choreographer today, he also is a frequent international ballet competition juror.
Alexei Fadeechev was born in Moscow, the son of Nikolai Fadeechev, legendary ballet dancer of the Bolshoi Theatre. In 1978, Fadeechev graduated from the Moscow Academic Choreography School, where he attended the class of ballet pedagogue Alexander Prokofiev and performed his first leading role, Franz in Coppelia by Delibes. He joined the Bolshoi Theatre Ballet Company and, tutored by his father, prepared and performed all the great roles of the classic repertoire. He worked with the Royal Ballet in Great Britain, performing leading roles, and has danced at the Mariinsky Theatre, the Danish Royal Ballet, the National Ballet of the Netherlands, the National Ballet of Finland, the National Ballet of Portugal, Birmingham Royal Ballet, Boston Ballet and others. In the two years he was artistic director of the Bolshoi Theatre ballet company, the company received two Golden Masks, Russia’s prestigious national theatre award, for best performances of ballets choreographed by Alexei Ratmansky and George Balanchine. Fadeechev staged his version of Don Quixote, enjoying great success in Moscow and internationally. In November 2000, together with Nina Ananiashvili, Fadeechev formed The Alexei Fadeechev Dance Theatre, whose productions included ballets staged by Stanton Welsh and Trey McIntyre, as well as Leah (choreography by Ratmansky), which was nominated in three categories for the Golden Mask in 2002. From 2004 to 2013, he was artistic director of Rostov Musical Theatre ballet company, and he has been the artistic director of the annual “Stars of the Russian Ballet” festival, in Lahti, Finland, since 2012. He has staged numerous ballets for State Ballet of Georgia, as well as Don Quixote by Ludwig Minkus in Royal Theatre of Saint Charles of Naples. Fadeechev has been awarded the title, “The People’s Artist of Russia.”
Born in Scotland and raised in England, Ashley Wheater was trained at the Royal Ballet School. He began his professional career with the Royal Ballet, and danced at the London Festival Ballet, The Australian Ballet, the Joffrey Ballet and San Francisco Ballet. In 1997, he became ballet master at the San Francisco Ballet, and in 2002, assistant to the artistic director. In 2007, Wheater was appointed artistic director of the Joffrey Ballet. New work is the life blood of a company, and he has introduced numerous premieres to the repertoire. In 2008, the Boeing Corporation recognized his commitment to community outreach and diversity in the world of dance, presenting him the “Game Changer” award. In 2010, Wheater, representing the Joffrey Ballet, was named Lincoln Academy Laureate, the highest honor presented by the State of Illinois.
A native of Seoul, Hae Shik Kim received her training at Ewha Woman’s University and The Royal Ballet Upper School in London. She danced with the Zurich Opera Ballet and Les Grands Ballets Canadiens, and as prima ballerina with the Korea National Ballet Company. Following her retirement from the stage, Kim taught at California State University at Fresno for 17 years. From 1993 to 1996, she was an artistic director of the KNBC. As a founding dean of School of Dance, the Korea National University of Arts, she taught at the KNUA for eleven years. She is a familiar presence at competitions around the world, having served on panels of competitions in Varna, Jackson, New York, Helsinki, Beijing, Lausanne and Cape Town and is also artistic director of the Seoul International Dance Competition. She is CEO of the Seoul International Dance Network and currently CEO of the Korea Youth Ballet Stars. Among her awards are the Ilmin Arts & Culture Prize and the Ock Kwan Medal from the Korean Government.
Trinidad Vives is a native of Madrid, Spain. A first prize medal winner at the Prix de Lausanne, her first professional engagement was with Hamburg Ballet. Later, as a principal dancer with Basel Ballet, Düsseldorf Ballet and English National Ballet, she performed the leading roles of the classical ballet repertoire as well as contemporary works by some of the greatest 20th century choreographers. Vives spent eight years with the Houston Ballet, where she rose from the position of ballet mistress to co-artistic director, a position she shared with Ben Stevenson. From 2002 to 2009, she served as artistic associate with Boston Ballet, during which time she oversaw the day-to-day running of the company. Vives has staged numerous full-length ballets including Swan Lake, Sleeping Beauty, La Sylphide, as well as contemporary works, and has been a guest teacher for companies including the American Ballet Theatre, Pittsburg Ballet, Les Ballets de Monte-Carlo, Bayersiche Staatsballett and Compañía Nacional de Danza in Madrid. She is currently artistic director and founder of The Brookline Ballet School in Boston, Massachusetts.
Edward Villella has been recognized as the greatest male ballet dancer America has produced. A star at the New York City Ballet, he showed the world that a tough kid out of Maritime College could become a major artist and, in doing so, changed the way men danced in America as well as the way male dancers were perceived. He has lectured all over the world and received nearly every important honor given to artists in the U.S. He was appointed by President Johnson to the President’s National Council of the Arts, honored by the Kennedy Center and awarded the National Medal of Arts by President Bill Clinton. The Dance Heritage Coalition named him in the first 100 of America’s Irreplaceable Dance Treasures. He was awarded a fellowship to the Academy of Arts and Sciences and honored for Distinguished Service to the Arts by the American Academy of Arts and Letters. He holds honorary Doctor of Fine Arts degrees from Fordham University, Boston Conservatory of Music, Long Island University, the College of Charleston, Allegheny College, Skidmore College, Florida Atlantic University, Sienna College, St. Thomas College and Florida State University, as well as the Doctor of Humane Letters from the University of North Carolina. The first American male dancer to perform with the Royal Danish Ballet and the only American asked to dance an encore at the Bolshoi Theater in Moscow, he danced for President Kennedy’s inauguration and for Presidents Johnson, Nixon and Ford. He was producer/director for the PBS series “Dance in America” and won an Emmy Award for his CBS television production of “Harlequinade.” He currently serves on the Board of Trustees of the School of American Ballet. In 1998, the University of Pittsburgh Press reissued his 1992 autobiography, Prodigal Son: Dancing for Balanchine in a World of Pain and Magic, written with Larry Kaplan. Villella founded the Miami City Ballet, which garnered international acclaim under his 26 years of artistic direction, and was faculty chair for the Miami City Ballet School. He left in September 2012 and now resides in New York.