XI USA INTERNATIONAL BALLET COMPETITION
JUNE 10-23, 2018
The 11th USA IBC opened Sunday, June 10, at Thalia Mara Hall. The Gertrude C. Ford Opening Ceremony introduced the 100 competitors from 17 countries in an “olympic”-style Parade of Nations. Edward Villella, lauded as the greatest male ballet dancer America has produced, was recognized as the 2018 Honorary Chairman. Mississippi dancer Kathy Thibodeaux, founder and artistic director of the Jackson-based Ballet Magnificat and a past USA IBC silver medalist, carried the torch to the stage where John Meehan, 2018 jury chairman, ignited the flame to officially open the competition. Dancers of the Joffrey Ballet, under the artistic direction of Ashley Wheater, performed Justin Peck’s “In Creases,” Yuri Possokhov’s “Adagio” and Gerald Arpino’s “Round of Angels” in a performance honoring Robert Joffrey, chairman of the first three USA IBC juries. William Fulton was master of ceremonies.
Serving with Meehan as jurors were Hae Shik Kim, Republic of Korea; André Lewis, Canada; Gennadi Nedvigin, Russia; Vadim Pisarev, Ukraine; Xiomara Reyes, Cuba; Trinidad Vives, Spain; Stanton Welch AM, Australia; Ashley Wheater, United Kingdom; and Feng Ying, China. A total of 119 dancers from 20 nations were invited to participate in USA XI following selection by Susan Jaffe and Wes Chapman in late February from 289 applicants representing 23 nations.
Throughout their time at the USA IBC, competitors had the opportunity to take daily classes taught by Rinat Imaev, Company Teacher and Senior Faculty at The Washington Ballet. Classes were held at the pristine Jackson Convention Complex for the first time in the competition’s history, with sprung flooring and marley provided by Harlequin.
Competitors who were eliminated following the first round participated in a choreography workshop with Matthew Neenan, founder of BalletX, and performed at the Awards Gala. Eliminated competitors also performed in The Edward Stierle Contemporary Showcase Monday, June 18, at Belhaven Center for the Arts.
The USA IBC Dance School welcomed 104 students from four nations. David Keary was artistic director and Arianna Marcell administrator for the school, held at Belhaven University in the state-of-the-art studios of Bitsy Irby Dance Center. Faculty members were Charles Askegard, Petrusjka Broholm, Carlos dos Santos, Zhanna Dubrovskaya, Fabrice Herrault, Maria Konrad, Svetlana Osiyeva, Rhodie Jorgenson and Marcus Alford.
Victoria Schneider of HARID Conservatory instructed the 2018 USA IBC Teacher Training Program, the Russian Ballet Teachers Seminar. The seminar provided dance teachers the opportunity to study with Schneider, observe competitor and Dance School classes and attend the competition performances at night participated in the 2018 Teacher Training Program.
The official artist for the 2018 USA IBC was award-winning Mississippi artist, Kit Fields. Fields sought for her USA IBC painting to convey “the energy and creativity that we witness when the dancers take the stage.” The painting was the signature image for the commemorative poster and program.
Special events during the two-week festival of dance included a Project Tutu Workshop and Fashion Show; lectures by Edward Villella, Alexei Ratmansy, Olga Smoak and representatives of the Robert Joffrey Foundation; a pointe shoe fitting seminar by Capezio; and a film series.
Medalists and other award winners were announced during the Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Mississippi Awards Gala Friday, June 22. Finalists performed pieces chosen by the jury followed by the awards ceremony.
Men’s Senior Gold Medalist – Sicong Wu, China
Women’s Senior Gold Medalist – Yunting Qiu, China
Men’s Senior Silver Medalist – Sangmin Lee, Republic of Korea
Women’s Senior Silver Medalist – Soobin Lee, Republic of Korea
Women’s Senior Silver Medalist – Katherine Barkman, USA
Men’s Senior Bronze Medalist – David Schrenk, USA
Women’s Senior Bronze Medalist – Chisako Oga, USA
Best Senior Couple – Soobin Lee & Sangmin Lee, Republic of Korea
Men’s Junior Gold Medalist – No gold awarded
Women’s Junior Gold Medalist – Elisabeth Beyer, USA
Men’s Junior Silver Medalist – Hyuma Kiyosawa, Japan
Women’s Junior Silver Medalist – Julia Rust, USA
Women’s Junior Silver Medalist – Carolyne Galvao, Brazil
Men’s Junior Bronze Medalist – Harold Mendez, USA
Men’s Junior Bronze Medalist – Joseph Markey, USA
Women’s Junior Bronze Medalist – Tia Wenkman, USA
Women’s Junior Bronze Medalist – Rheya Shano, USA
Robert Joffrey Award of Merit – Mya Kresnyak, Canada
Jury Award of Encouragement – Veronica Atienza, Philippines
Jury Award of Encouragement – Nicole Klaudine Barroso, Philippines
Jury Award of Encouragement – Razmik Marukyan, Armenia
Choreography Award – Zhang Disha for “Sad Birds”, performed by Sicong Wu & Yunting Qiu
Choreography Award – Fei Bo for “Permanent Yesterday”, performed by Sicong Wu & Yunting Qiu