Joseph Gorak, a member of American Ballet Theatre’s corps de ballet, was named best
male dancer at the Ninth International Competition for the Erik Bruhn Prize, held in Toronto on
Saturday, March 5, 2011.
Gorak and corps de ballet member Christine Shevchenko danced the pas de deux
from August Bournonville’s La Sylphide and Divergent Connectivity, a contemporary work
choreographed by ABT corps de ballet member Nicola Curry. Curry competed for the
Choreographic Prize, which was added to the competition in 2009.
A native of Fort Wayne, Indiana, Gorak began his classical ballet training with North
Central School of Ballet in Texas. He studied under full scholarships at summer programs with
American Ballet Theatre, Orlando Ballet and School of American Ballet. In 2004, Gorak trained
at the Orlando Ballet School and, in 2005, joined Orlando Ballet, then under the direction of
Fernando Bujones. He won the silver medal in the senior men’s division at the 2005 Helsinki
International Ballet Competition, the gold medal in the senior men’s division at the 2005 Youth
American Grand Prix Finals, and the Grand Prix Award at the 2006 YAGP Finals. Gorak joined
ABT II in 2006, became an apprentice with the main Company in January 2009 and joined the
corps de ballet in January 2010. His roles with the Company include the Neapolitan dance in
Swan Lake and the Chinese dance in Alexei Ratmansky’s The Nutcracker.
The International Competition for the Erik Bruhn Prize was conceived by Erik Bruhn
prior to his death in 1986. A leading male dancer of his generation and former Artistic Director
of The National Ballet of Canada, Bruhn established the competition for the encouragement and
recognition of young dancers. The prize is awarded to two dancers, one male and one female,
between the ages of 18 and 23. The 2011 competitors for the Erik Bruhn Prize represented
The National Ballet of Canada, American Ballet Theatre, Royal Danish Ballet, Stuttgart Ballet
and Hamburg Ballet.