South Africa seems like an unlikely place for ballet. But Cape Town actually attracts its fair share of top talent, especially since the inception of the Cape Town Internationl Ballet Competition in 2008. Royal Ballet director designate Kevin O'Hare, Washington Ballet director Septime Webre, National Ballet School of Cuba director Ramona de Saá and other powerful players will be there this spring to judge promising young dancers from around the world.

 

Dates: February 27 to March 4

Location: Artscape Opera House in Cape Town, South Africa

Held: Every other year

Applications due: January 16

Past winners: Alys Shee (formerly with ABT II), Aaron Smythe (also formerly with ABT II), Andile Ndlovu (Washington Ballet)

Ages: Junior division dancers must be 15–18, senior division dancers 19–28

Categories: Dancers can compete as soloists or couples, in classical or contemporary

Awards: Gold, silver and bronze are named in each division for women and men in classical and contemporary. Monetary awards come with the prizes. One winner is selected to compete in Youth America Grand Prix finals in New York.

Website: ctibc.com

Ballet Stars
From left: Douane Gosa, Gianni Goffredo, James Whiteside, Maxfield Haynes and Matthew Poppe in WTF. Yo Poosh, Courtesy Kimberly Giannelli PR.

We've always known that Madonna loves dance. After all, the "Queen of Pop" studied at the Martha Graham School in the 1970s. Nevertheless, we were still surprised (and thrilled) to see that she invited James Whiteside to perform at her 61st birthday party in The Hamptons last weekend.

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Giveaways
Modeled by Daria Ionova. Darian Volkova, Courtesy Elevé Dancewear.
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News
Boston Ballet's Kathleen Breen Combes, María Álvarez and Dawn Atkins. Christopher Duggan, Courtesy Jacob's Pillow.

Wonder what's going on in ballet this week? We've rounded up some highlights.

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Ballet Stars
Alexandra MacDonald (front row, third from left) didn't win a medal at the Genée International Ballet Competition, but says she came home inspired and newly motivated by the people she met there. Photo Courtesy Genée IBC.

Ballet competitions are an exciting part of any dancer's career. Yet while scholarships, prize money, job offers and the prestige that comes with winning a medal are compelling incentives to participate in one, they're not the only benefits. In fact, many dancers who go home empty-handed still look fondly on the experience and go on to become successful professionals.

This week, the 2019 Genée International Ballet Competition kicks off in Toronto. From August 20-29, over 50 dancers, ages 15–19 and trained in the Royal Academy of Dance syllabus, will perform three solos in the hopes of winning a medal and a $10,000 cash prize. Many past medalists have gone on to illustrious careers—but so have those who didn't win anything. We spoke with three Genée alumni now dancing professionally who know what it's like not to place. Read on to find out why they deem their comp experiences a success, and how you can make the most of yours—whether you win or not.

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