Ballet Careers

Applications for the 2018 USA IBC are Now Open... And They Changed the Age Requirements

USA IBC 2014 Junior Divison Gold Medal Winner and current American Ballet Theatre corps de ballet dancer Gisele Bethea and Michal Wozniak performing in 2014's second round. Photo by Jim Lafferty for Pointe.

Every four years, dancers from around the world gather in Jackson, Mississippi to compete for medals, cash prizes, scholarships and company contracts as part of the USA International Ballet Competition. While every competition boasts famous former competitors, the USA IBC's impressive list includes Isaac Hernandez, Sarah Lamb, Misa Kuranaga, Nina Ananiashvili, Brooklyn Mack, Daniil Simkin and many more. Though the competition runs from June 10-23 of 2018, it's not too early to apply; applications for the 11th USA IBC opened this week.

If you're 14 years old but itching to enter the competition circuit, it's your lucky year. USA IBC has lowered its age requirement from 15 to 14 (the Prix de Lausanne made a similar change last month). Older dancers can also participate; the competition has extended the senior division limit from 26 to 28 years of age.


2014 USA IBC competitors in rehearsal. Photo by Jim Lafferty for Pointe.

In other USA IBC news, John Meehan will act as the 2018 International Jury Chair. The former Australian Ballet and American Ballet Theatre dancer is in charge of gathering the group of jurors. So far we know that Stanton Welch, Marcia Haydee and Xiomara Reyes are on the list.

The initial portion of the application is due on January 8, giving entrants until February 5 to download the Round I repertoire music for the required video submission. Can't wait till June? You can keep track of your preparations with the USA IBC's handy countdown clock.


USA IBC 2014 Junior Division Silver Medal Winner and current Houston Ballet demi-soloist Mackenzie Richter. Photo by Jim Lafferty for Pointe.

The Conversation
Ballet Stars
Angela Sterling, Courtesy PNB

Your teacher at Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet, Marcia Dale Weary, recently passed away. What impact did she have on you?

I feel deeply indebted to her. She shaped my life's course, and I know that were it not for her, I would not be living out my dream today. She led by example through her remarkable commitment to her work, as well as her genuine kindness and generosity.

You were a trainee with San Francisco Ballet. What was that experience like?

It was an exposure to different schools of thought. We were mostly in the full-lengths, and watching run-throughs of Sleeping Beauty and Don Quixote was revolutionary for me. But I was young and far away from home. That transition was hard. My body started changing. It wanted to be fleshy. Biology is cruel in that way. I desperately wanted to fit in, but it wasn't meant to be.

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The Royal Ballet's Vadim Muntagirov and Marianela Nuñez in La Bayadère. Photo by Bill Cooper, Courtesy ROH.

Do you ever wish you could teleport to London and casually stroll into The Royal Opera House to see some of the world's best-loved ballets? Well, we have a solution for you: The Royal Ballet's 2018-19 cinema season.

Whether live or recorded, the seven ballet programs listed below, streaming now through next October, will deliver all of the magic that The Royal Ballet has to offer straight to your local movie theater. Can you smell the popcorn already?

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Site Network
Left: Misa Kuranaga in The Veritginous Thrill of Exactitude. Gene Schiavone, Courtesy Boston Ballet. Right: Sasha Mukhamedov in Apollo. Altin Kaftira, Courtesy Dutch National Ballet.

San Francisco Ballet just announced some major news: longtime Boston Ballet star Misa Kuranaga will be joining the company as a principal dancer for the 2019-20 season, while Dutch National Ballet principal Sasha Mukhamedov has been hired as a soloist. They join a slew of newly promoted SFB principals and soloists, announced earlier this year.

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Ballet Stars
Xiao Nan Yu in company class. Aaron Vincent, Courtesy National Ballet of Canada.

On June 22, National Ballet of Canada principal Xiao Nan Yu will retire from the stage after 22 years with the company. Originally from Dalian, China, Yu studied at the Shen Yang School of Dance and the Beijing Dance Academy before coming to Canada's National Ballet School at age 17. She joined the National Ballet of Canada less than two years later, and was promoted to principal in 2001.

"She is a supreme dance actress with an innate ability to bring the audience into her world," says NBoC artistic director Karen Kain. "Nan has always brought such a calm confidence into the studio and has been a role model for so many dancers I will miss her generosity both inside the studio and out." We spoke with Yu as she prepared for her final week of performances. She opened up about her initial culture shock upon moving to Toronto, her thoughts on artistry and why she chose Hanna Glawari in The Merry Widow as her final role.

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