Helsinki Standouts

The sixth Helsinki International Ballet Competition, held this June in Finland, was something of a guy’s show. The most notable of the 70 competitors, who performed over the course of seven evenings in the beautiful Finnish National Opera House, were all men: authoritative, silky Brooklyn Mack, 23, of the United States, who was the Senior Silver medalist; fiercely masculine Jeffrey Cirio, 18, also of the United States, who took home the Junior Gold; and scissors-sharp Xiaoyu He, 21, of China, winner of the Grand Prix.

 

Some of the more intriguing women in the competition—Korean National Ballet Company’s lyrical Seul Ki Park, and the sleek, serene Byelorussian Nadzeya Filipava—did not win medals. Perhaps ballerina moonlight-energy doesn’t fit so well with the flash-boom-bang of competition craft.

 

Nevertheless, the international exposure that young dancers gain in competition is invaluable—particularly at the Helsinki contest. “The city is well-situated between the East and the West,” says Doris Laine-Almi, the former Finnish National Ballet artistic director, who founded HIBC in 1984 to complement the other Inter­national Theatre Institute Competitions in Varna, Jackson and Moscow. “And everyone speaks English!” adds Junior Silver medalist Lonnie Weeks, of Texas Ballet Theater, who is a veteran of the competition scene. “That makes it much easier here.”

 

Latest Posts


Left to right: Dance Theatre of Harlem's Daphne Lee, Amanda Smith, Lindsey Donnell and Alexandra Hutchinson in a scene from Dancing Through Harlem. Derek Brockington, Courtesy Dance Theatre of Harlem

Dancers Share Their Key Takeaways After a Year of Dancing on Film

Creating dances specifically for film has become one of the most effective ways that ballet companies have connected with audiences and kept dancers employed during the pandemic. Around the world, dance organizations are finding opportunities through digital seasons, whether conceiving cinematic, site-specific pieces or filming works within a traditional theater. And while there is a consistent sentiment that nothing will ever substitute the thrill of a live show, dancers are embracing this new way of performing.

Keep reading SHOW LESS
Liam Scarlett with Marianela Nuñez and Ryoichi Hirano during a rehearsal of his Swan Lake at The Royal Ballet. Andrej Uspenski, Courtesy ROH

Choreographer Liam Scarlett Has Died

Over the weekend, news broke that 35-year-old choreographer Liam Scarlett, a former artist in residence at The Royal Ballet, died suddenly at his home in England. "It is with great sadness that we announce the tragic, untimely death of our beloved Liam," Scarlett's family said in a brief statement. "At this difficult time for all of our family, we would ask that you respect our privacy to enable us to grieve our loss."

The cause of death was not disclosed.

Keep reading SHOW LESS

#TBT: Mikhail Baryshnikov in "Fancy Free" (1981)

In Jerome Robbins's 1944 ballet Fancy Free, three sailors on leave spend the day at a bar, attempting to woo two young women by out-dancing and out-charming one another. In this clip from 1981, Mikhail Baryshnikov, who was then both the artistic director of American Ballet Theatre and a leading performer with the company, pulls out all the stops to win the ladies' affections.

Keep reading SHOW LESS

Editors' Picks