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From left: Catherine Hurlin, Siphesihle November and Kristian Lever. Karolina Kuras, Courtesy NBoC.

Over the weekend, eight of the world's most promising young dancers competed in Toronto for The Erik Bruhn Prize. Since 1988 the prize, named for celebrated danseur noble Erik Bruhn, has brought together one male and one female dancer from each of the companies that he was affiliated with. Dancers must be between the ages of 18 and 23, and are invited by their artistic directors to compete. Each couple performs a classical and contemporary pas de deux, though they're judged individually.

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Natasha Sheehan and Angelo Greco of San Francisco Ballet. Aleksandar Antonijevic, Courtesy NBoC.

San Francisco Ballet dancers Natasha Sheehan and Angelo Greco were announced the winners of the 12th International Erik Bruhn Prize on Wednesday. Hamburg Ballet soloist Marc Jubete won the Choreographic Prize for his new work, Remember. The competition, which honors the legacy of Danish ballet dancer Erik Bruhn, was held November 15 in Toronto; participants included promising young dancers from five major companies: American Ballet Theatre, San Francisco Ballet, Hamburg Ballet, The Royal Ballet and National Ballet of Canada.

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Hannah Fischer and Piotr Stanczyk in Christopher Wheeldon'sThe Winter's Tale. Karolina Kuras, Courtesy NBoC.

The 12th International Competition for The Erik Bruhn Prize will take place in Toronto on November 15. The event, which honors Bruhn's danseur noble legacy, is a pretty accurate predictor of up-and-coming talent. Last year's winners included NBoC second soloist Hannah Fischer, who danced as a first-cast lead in Christopher Wheeldon's The Winter's Tale during NBoC's opening, and recently promoted San Francisco Ballet principal Carlo Di Lanno.

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From left: Yury Yanowsky, Hannah Fischer and Carlo Di Lanno. Photo by Bruce Zinger, Courtesy NBOC

National Ballet of Canada corps member Hannah Fischer, 20, and San Francisco Ballet soloist Carlo Di Lanno, 22, were announced the winners of the prestigious Erik Bruhn Prize on Tuesday night. Recently retired Boston Ballet principal Yuri Yanowsky won the choreographic prize for his work District.

Five couples and choreographers representing five companies (Boston Ballet, San Francisco Ballet, The Royal Danish Ballet, Hamburg Ballet and NBOC) competed for the award at the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts in Toronto. Each pair was selected to compete by their artistic directors and performed a classical pas de deux and variation, as well as a specially commissioned contemporary work. Fischer and Di Lanno each won a cash prize of $7,500; Yanowsky won $2,000. All three also received a sculpture by Jack Culiner.

The late Erik Bruhn, one of the most acclaimed male dancers of the 20th century, willed part of his estate to establish the prize upon his death. Given to one male and one female dancer between the ages of 18 and 23, the award, Bruhn said, reflects “such technical ability, artistic achievement and dedication as I endeavored to bring to dance." The Choreographic prize was added in 2009. If past winners are any indication, Fischer, Di Lanno and Yanowsky have bright futures ahead.

The Erik Bruhn Prize may be a quirky competition (participating dancers must come from one of the companies that Bruhn was associated with during his lifetime), but it has showcased many top dancers when they were just starting their careers. ABT principals Julie Kent and Michele Wiles, San Francisco Ballet principals Vanessa Zahorian and Gennadi Nedvigin, and Royal Ballet principal Johan Kobborg, among others, all won the Erik Bruhn Prize before becoming major ballet stars.

 

This year's crop of competitors includes ABT's Christine Shevchenko and Joseph Gorak, Hamburg Ballet's Maria Baranova and Alexandr Trusch, Royal Danish Ballet's Shelby Elsbree and Jon Axel Fransson, Stuttgart Ballet's Elisa Badenes and Daniel Camargo and National Ballet of Canada's Shino Mori and Naoya Ebe

 

The winners each receive a $7,500 prize, and the winner of the Choreographic Prize earns $2,000. The judging panel consists of artistic directors or coordinators from each of the participating companies. New this year is the Audience Choice Award, which gives audience members an opportunity to vote for their favorite male and female dancers as well as their favorite new contemporary work. The competition takes place March 5 in Toronto—stay tuned for the results!

Ballet Stars

The Royal Danish Ballet's Ida Praetorius may only be 19, but she's quickly making her mark on the ballet world.

Last year, Pointe highlighted her as one of the standouts of 2011—when she was only an apprentice! Artistic director Nikolai Hubbe had cast her in the lead of Fleming Flindt's The Lesson for the company's U.S. tour, and she astounded us with her expressive movement and innate dramatic flair.

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