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 Post subject: USA International Ballet Competition, Jackson, MS, 2006
PostPosted: Mon Jun 12, 2006 1:57 pm 
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Location: Seattle, WA, USA
The USA International Ballet Competition opens on Saturday, June 17, 2006 with a gala performance in Thalia Mara Hall in Jackson, Mississippi. Sherry Lucas previews the competition in the Jackson Clarion-Ledger:

IBC Preview

In a related article, Kathy Thibodeaux, Artistic Director of Ballet Magnificat, talks to Sherry Lucas about performance longevity at age 49:

Ballet Magnificat

Here is a link to the IBC homepage:
USA International Ballet Competition


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 14, 2006 10:21 am 
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Location: Seattle, WA, USA
In the Jackson Clarion-Ledger, Sherry Lucas reports on the modular sprung floor that will be used onstage for the competition:

Clarion-Ledger


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 Post subject: "The Jackson Report"
PostPosted: Sat Jun 17, 2006 4:14 pm 
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Location: Seattle, WA. USA
Day One: We arrived!

Day Two: Saturday, 17 June
Circled the wagons. Toured some historic houses -- very impressive. Popped into the restored Union Station. It's clear many parts of Jackson need some loving help, including the amazing Hotel King Edward. Too many acres of parking lots where there used to be buildings.

Lunch: Ran into Cynthia Harvey (former ABT and hostess of ceremonies); Viktor Kabaniaev (former Kirov Ballet and now with the Diablo Ballet) who is here as a coach; and Johannes Ohman, Artistic Director of Stockholm's 59 Degrees North which uses soloists of the Royal Swedish Ballet. Everyone seems to be delighted to be here and the word on the street -- at least the word in a dining room -- is that the level of competitors is VERY high.

Tonight: GALA Opening! More later....

Gala Opening: The presentation of each of the flags from the various competitors' countries was truly moving and thrilling. All the dancers made their way through the house with the flags and up onto the stage to take their respective places behind the jury. Then the 2002 Gold Medal Winner brought the "Olympic" torch up, passed it to Bruce Marks, who lit the IBC flame. Great stuff -- moving and very theatrical.

Tina Ramirez's Ballet Hispanico book ended the dance portion of the Gala Opening. Ann Reinking's 1997 addition of "Ritmo y Ruido" certainly added much pizazz and flashing energy to the show. It's a good piece that uses and builds on her considerable jazz/ballet and show-business experience.

Next up were past winners, first with Joseph Phillips doing a solo from Ashton's "Sylvia," followed by the male solo from Act III of "Swan Lake" performed by Rolando Sarabia. Then the complete "Le Corsaire" brightly danced by Adrienne Canterna and Danny Tidwell. Concluding the first half was Mr. Phillips in a solo "La Bayadere."

After Interval, they got to show their modern side with Sarabia in "Cross the Line," Canterna in a 'fusion' solo that was quite good -- "Hallelujah" and finishing with the very impressive Tidwell's "Power of the Gospel" which really allowed him to meld his technical strength with solid acting and feeling.

"Club Havana" was Ballet Hispanico's steamy essay, given on a steamy, Southern night.

Round One, Session One.

A clear gold medal winning performance was given by Japan's Yui Yonezawa with 'non-competing' partner Georgi Smilevksi in the complete Grand Pas de Deux from "Don Quixote." They had *everything* worked out -- from every pose and step to every glance and transition. Fabulous balances. And a good reading of the characterization of the intent of the ballet.

More later, on Sessions One and Two. It's exciting!!

_________________
Dean Speer
ballet@u.washington.edu


Last edited by Dean Speer on Sun Jun 18, 2006 10:25 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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PostPosted: Sat Jun 17, 2006 4:27 pm 
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The Saturday, June 17, 2006 Jackson Clarion-Ledger includes a front page of the local news section on the Competition, including features on families who are serving as local hosts and a roster of competitors:

Clarion Ledger


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PostPosted: Sat Jun 17, 2006 4:50 pm 
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A profile in the New Orleans Times-Picayune on Janessa Touchet, currently with Cincinnati Ballet and a competitor here at Jackson:

Janessa Touchet


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Jun 18, 2006 12:06 am 
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Location: Seattle, WA, USA
The evening of the Opening Ceremony began in dramatic fashion with a spectacular thunderstorm and an awe inspiring downpour, beginning at 6:00 p.m. We delayed our departure for the theatre in hopes of a slowdown in the rain, but time finally determined that we should make a break for it. The Thalia Mara Hall is a nicely renovated version of an older civic auditorium. There is no covered, direct access from any of the surrounding parking facilities, so everyone arrived with their gala finery well soaked. (This Seattleite was well served by a London Fog Maincoat, sturdy galoshes and a good umbrella, arriving virtually unscathed.) The curtain was delayed past the 7:30 starting time due to many patrons' struggles against the elements.

A full orchestra has been engaged for the Opening and Closing events of the IBC -- the Mississippi Symphony, conducted by Andrews Sill, recently appointed as music director of Milwaukee Ballet. The ceremony began with "The Star Spangled Banner," performed by Guy Hovis with a microphone, which proved to be altogether unnecessary. The orchestra, by way of an overture, performed Rimsky-Korsakov's "Dance of the Tumblers." A scrim was lifted to reveal the IBC panel of judges and the workshop faculty arrayed in chairs onstage. Next, a "parade of nations," consisting of all of the competitors in ranks by the country they are representing, including a flagbearer, processed from the back of the hall and onto the stage, taking their places standing on choir risers behind the judges and faculty. The competitors were attired entirely in black warm-ups and long crew neck t-shirts bearing the logo of Capezio squarely across the hips. They acquitted themselves well during the remaining speeches and tributes comprising the first third of the program, inasmuch as they were forced to stand in tight quarters on risers under hot lights. Unlike singers under similar circumstances, the dancers know better than to lock their knees and capitulate forward in a dead faint as occasionally happens with choir members.

Welcoming remarks were thereupon delivered by IBC Executive Director Sue Lobrano, who thanked her staff of approximately 15; William Mounger, Board Chair of the IBC, who thanked the donors and informed us that the IBC costs about $3 million to produce; Jackson Mayor Frank Melton, who singled out two of the competitors to come to the microphone and deliver welcoming remarks -- one a dancer from Cuba, who welcomed the audience in Spanish, one a recent high school graduate from Los Angeles -- and exhorted the competitors to return from the competition and by example encourage others to strive for excellence; and finally, from Paul Terlizzi, President of Capezio and IBC National Honorary Chairman.

We were next introduced to Cynthia Harvey and John Meehan, who will be serving as MCs for the competition rounds and who had the assignment of introducing all of the members of the IBC Jury and teaching staff, all of whom were successfully introduced, despite the fact that Ms. Harvey's script apparently lost the last page and she was forced to rely upon memory recall to come up with the right names for the last few teachers.

Continuing the "Olympics of Dance" theme, 2002 IBC Junior Gold Medalist (*not* 2006 as listed in the program!) appeared at the back of the darkened hall with a lighted torch, processed down the aisle, onto the stage, proceeded to center stage where a truncated version of the Olympic flame resided. He thereupon genuflected to the jury and handed the torch over to jury chairman Bruce Marks, who, with some difficulty, succeeded in lighting the flame.

With this, we recessed for intermission and to check on the weather. The storm had passed and the evening air was steamy and sultry. I will pass the torch over to Dean for his comments on the first actual dancing of the evening, which got underway after intermission.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Jun 18, 2006 7:16 am 
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Location: Canada
The writer's comments on defection would seem a bit humorous if it wasn't for the fact that three of the Cuban competitors, including Daniel Sarabia, have defected to the US in the last couple of years.

(And for that matter, people still file for political asylum in the US every day, Cold War or no Cold War).

Quote:
Crisis plans in place for competition
By Sherry Lucas
slucas@clarionledger.com

Defection is no longer a worry with the end of the Cold War, but security is a top concern for the USA International Ballet Competition.

The major event trains a beam on Jackson, and organizers are optimistic of a blemish-free event. Crisis plans are in place to handle any potential problem, from jury tampering to terrorism, said Jim Ingram, a former FBI official and state public safety commissioner, who has coordinated the event's security for 25 years.



http://www.clarionledger.com/apps/pbcs. ... 80377/1001


Last edited by ksneds on Thu Jun 22, 2006 10:45 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Jun 18, 2006 11:49 pm 
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Location: Seattle, WA, USA
To read Dean's comments on the Opening Ceremony and Round I, Session I (Sunday afternoon), please back up to his earlier post.

Here is the roster for Round I, Session I (Sunday, 6/18/06, 2:00 p.m.):

William Moore, Jr. (USA) -- Junior, currently with Columbia Ballet (Coach: Norbert Nierewicz); Paquita variation; Flames of Paris variation

Cara Cooper (USA) -- Junior, currently with Colorado Ballet (no coach); Coppelia, Act III variation

Shelby Ratchford (USA) -- Junior, currently with Orlando Ballet (Coach: Samantha Dunster); two Paquita variations

Reika Miwa (Japan) --Junior, Osaka (Coach: Yukari Onishi); Paquita variation; Flames of Paris variation

Ryo Izawa (Japan) -- Junior, trained at Reiko Yamamoto school, Gunma (Coach: Kazuo Sekita); Napoli variation; Paquita variation

Yayoi Ezawa (Japan) -- Senior, currently at Royal Winnipeg (Coach: Stephane Leonard); Giselle, Act I solo; Paquita variation

Adiarys Almeida Santana (Cuba) and Joseph Michael Gatti (USA) -- Seniors, currently with Cincinnati Ballet (Coach: Orlando Molina); Swan Lake Act III pas de deux (complete)

Carolyn Rose Ramsay (Canada) -- Senior, currently with Royal Winnipeg (no coach); Esmeralda variation; Swan Lake Act III pas de deux variation

Raydel Caceres (Cuba) -- Senior, currently with National Ballet of Cuba (Coach: Magaly Suarez); Esmeralda variation; Don Quixote variation

Yui Yonezawa (Japan) and non-competing partner Georgi Smilevski -- Senior, Tokyo (Coaches: Iwao and Yoko Tsukamoto); Don Quixote pas de deux (complete)

**************

The rules allow for each competitor to perform two solo variations or a classical pas de deux from a pre-selected list of repertoire for the junior or senior division. Total stage time is not to exceed three minutes for each variation or twelve minutes for a pas de deux. For those choosing the pas de deux, they perform only once, on either the first or second half of the program. Those performing variations perform one variation on the first half, and the other on the second half of the program. To advance to Round II, competitors must receive an average of 7 points on a 10 point scale. Competitors are judged on artistry, technical skill and musicality, using a ten point scale. There are 13 jurors; each juror marks a separate ballot for each competitor; scores are entered into a computer and the final scores become a composite of the jury's individual scores.


Last edited by Francis Timlin on Mon Jun 19, 2006 11:10 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Jun 19, 2006 12:31 am 
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Roster for Round I, Session II (Sunday, 6/18/06, 7:30 p.m.):

Grace-Anne Powers (USA) -- Junior, Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet (Coach: Magaly Suarez); Paquita variation; Sleeping Beauty, Lilac Fairy variation

Isadora Valero Meza (Venezuela) -- Junior, Academia de Ballet Classico (Coach: Ruta Butviliene); Paquita variation; Coppelia, Act III variation

Aurora Dickie (Brazil) and non-competing partner Welton Nascimbene -- Junior, Bolshoi Brazil (Coach: Andre Valadao); Coppelia, Act III pas de deux (complete)

Anastasia Sinitsyna (Russia/USA) -- Junior, Universal (Coaches: Marat Daukayev and Natalia Zakhvatkina); Paquita variation; Sleeping Beauty, Lilac Fairy variation

Isaac Hernandez (Mexico) -- Junior, Rock School (Coaches: Bojan and Stephanie Spassov); Flames of Paris variation; Coppelia, Act III variation

Janessa Touchet (USA) and Cervilio Miguel Amador (Cuba) -- Senior, Cincinnati Ballet (Coach: Viktor Kabaniaev); Don Quixote pas de deux (complete)

Anna Nikulina (Russia) -- Senior, Bolshoi (Coach: Ekaterina Maksimova); Swan Lake, Act III variation; Don Quixote variation

Masayoshi Onuki (Japan) -- Senior, Yamato (Coach: Mikio Ikehata); Swan Lake, Act III variation; Don Quixote variation

Yu-hee Son (South Korea) -- Senior, Universal (Coach: Eun Hee Rhee); Esmeralda variation; Swan Lake, Act III variation

Eddy Tovar (Cuba) -- Senior, Orlando (Coach: Samantha Dunster); Swan Lake, Act III variation; Don Quixote variation

Keigo Fukuda (Japan) -- Senior, K Ballet School (Coach: Keiko Yagami); Swan Lake, Act III variation; Don Quixote variation

Carla Amancio (Brazil) and non-competing partner and coach Andre Valadao -- Senior, Companhia de Danca Sesiminas; Esmeralda pas de deux (complete)

Davit Karapetyan (Armenia) and non-competing partner Vanessa Zahorian -- Senior, San Francisco Ballet; Swan Lake, Act III pas de deux (complete)

*************
Highlights of this evening included a riveting performance of the Don Q. pas de deux by Janessa Touchet and Cervilio Miguel Amador (coached by Viktor Kabaniaev), which competed very favorably in animation and involvement with the standout performance of the same pas de deux by Yui Yonezawa and Georgi Smilevski on the afternoon round; a marvelous performance of the Esmeralda pas de deux by Carla Amancio and her non-competing coach Andre Valadao; and an absolutely fabulous and error free performance by Davit Karapetyan and Vanessa Zahorian of the Swan Lake, Act III pas de deux.


Last edited by Francis Timlin on Fri Jun 23, 2006 10:50 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Mon Jun 19, 2006 1:08 am 
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Location: London, England; Tallinn, Estonia
Many thanks, Francis and Dean, for all the news from Jackson.

Competition ballet is a controversial area, as we have discussed elsewhere on the site, with some concerned that an emphasis on technique over expression is tilting the balance too far towards the former.

It will be interesting to see how the judges at Jackson tackle this problem. The old ice skating system of separate marks for technique and artistic expression comes to mind.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Jun 19, 2006 1:58 am 
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Do you have news of the french and belgian candidates?

_________________
L'art naît de contraintes, vit de luttes et meurt de liberté


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 Post subject: "The Jackson Report" -- Musings and Admonitions
PostPosted: Mon Jun 19, 2006 8:11 am 
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Location: Seattle, WA. USA
Not all steps fit all bodies, like not all vocal parts fit all voices. One unfortunate choice by whoever picked the first solo for Anna Nikulina [(Russia) -- Senior, Bolshoi (Coach: Ekaterina Maksimova); Swan Lake, Act III variation; Don Quixote variation], did not choose well for her. Her long and lanky body didn't look good in the Swan Lake variation (it's one of the alternate versions). So I have to fuss at either Maksimova or Nikulina's teachers or ?, for allowing her to go forward with something that did not show her off.

Her Don Q variation, on the other hand, DID show her off very well indeed. It's all a matter of choices.

Yu-hee Son [(South Korea) -- Senior, Universal (Coach: Eun Hee Rhee); Esmeralda variation; Swan Lake, Act III variation] who lost her concentration during her first, Esmeralda, variation, looked great during same solo from Swan Lake. Son has a more compact body type that was better suited for this lesser-performed Odile variation.

Again, choices.

Overall, the level of the men is truly impressive and exciting. All of the Japanese competitors have excellent balon and elevation and dance with a soft, feline quality. The Cubans tend to have fabulous bravura. Each man has superb turns, double tours, and double assembles.

More later as we head off to Sessions III and IV.

_________________
Dean Speer
ballet@u.washington.edu


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Jun 19, 2006 8:14 am 
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Hi, Aurelie! No French or Belgian competitors have yet appeared. We will report on competitors as soon as they are presented.


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 19, 2006 8:45 am 
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Location: USA
Just a quick correction to Mister Timlin's list of competitors for session 1. Adiarys Almeida is not a member of the National Ballet of Cuba but is a Principal with Cincinnati Ballet.

I"m following several of the USA competitors and only wish I could be there but this site is the next best thing! Thanks to all for posting these great updates and hope to hear more commentary as the competition progresses!


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 19, 2006 10:16 am 
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Location: London, England; Tallinn, Estonia
Good to have you here, joika. Thanks for this comment and we hope we hear from you regularly during the competition.


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