Top "Wow" Moments from Boston IBC

The Boston International Ballet Competition completed its second edition last week with stunning performances and a surprise award. In case you missed it, here are the highlights:

 

1.    Brooklyn Mack isn’t just a remarkable jumper. He can fly. After spending more time in the air than touching the stage in the Diana and Acteon pas de deux that he danced with junior silver medalist Sarah Steele, Mack went on to inspire a full-blown audience gasp: In his final-round contemporary piece, he catapulted himself horizontally across half the stage (think Superman) before (gasp!) landing upside down on his hands and tucking into a forward roll. The Washington Ballet dancer left with a well-deserved gold medal in the senior men’s division, as well as invitations to perform at the Indianapolis City Ballet “Evening with the Stars” Gala in September and at The Kremlin Ballet Theatre in November.


2.  South Korea’s women arrived in full force, sweeping every female gold medal (junior and senior divisions) and first prize (student division). For me, the most memorable performance was junior female gold medalist Min Jung Kim’s contemporary duet (with her non-competing partner), danced to an instrumental version of Metallica’s Nothing Else Matters. I'd noticed Kim earlier, but the maturity of her stage presence in this piece is what won me. Her passion was understated but undeniable—the emotion was radiating from her movement.

 

3.   When it comes to classical variations, the student division (ages 13–14) made a big impact. Long legs, gorgeous feet, endless turns, the ability to hop on pointe for days. These girls were outstanding. Particularly impressive was Maria Clara Coelho, student third prize winner from Brazil, whose “Harlequinade” music began to skip early on in the final round. But she kept going like a pro, and miraculously, every time her music came back on, she was still right in the pocket of the music (or convinced me she was). Ah, the excitement of live theater!


4.   Who knew that a skirt could look so masculine? The male compulsory solo, choreographed by Dai Jian (who assisted Shen Wei with the opening ceremonies of the 2008 Beijing Olympics), was a display of powerful masculinity. Competitors had the added challenge of performing intense floor work and rolls while wearing floor-length flowing fabric. (It seems so wrong to call it a “skirt,” since it was anything but feminine.) Brooklyn Mack won the special award for male compulsory performance, but Yukihiro Tamura, senior male silver medalist from The Rock School, was also breathtaking.  Both amazed me with their finesse and grace, even within the power-packed, sometimes explosive movement.


5.  Two more dancers to watch: Early on in the competition, I noticed a familiar-looking dancer who was not listed in the program, but who repeatedly captivated me with her stage presence. Something about her just sparkled. Turns out, she was Boston Ballet II’s own Lauren Herfindahl, who went on to win a silver medal in the junior division. I also fell in love with the angelic magnetism of Hyunhee Sim, senior silver medalist from South Korea. She may be small, but those lines go on forever. 


6.   And a surprise: A Boston Ballet company contract. It wasn’t on the roster of contracts to be awarded, but senior female gold medalist Seo Hye Han from South Korea impressed Boston Ballet artistic director Mikko Nissinen enough that he offered her a spot in the company!

 

Latest Posts


Laurent Liotardo (post-production by Nik Pate), Courtesy ENB

Catch English National Ballet’s Rising Stars in the Emerging Dancer Competition Livestream

The coronavirus pandemic may have postponed English National Ballet's annual Emerging Dancer competition last spring, but the show must go on—digitally! You can still watch ENB's best and brightest talent during the competition's livestream, taking place on September 22 at 7:20 pm BST (that's 2:20 pm ET). Now in its 11th year, the competition for the Emerging Dancer Award will be broadcast live from the company's East London production studio for the first time. Tickets are available for $6.99 per device and will remain available to view on demand until September 29.

Keep reading SHOW LESS
From left: Alaina Broyles, Courtesy Werner; Courtesy Underwood

Gaynor Minden's Latest Dancer Lineup Features a Body-Positivity Activist and Its First Guy

Pointe shoe brand Gaynor Minden recently welcomed 32 young dancers to its coveted roster of Gaynor Girls. But this year, the company included two applicants who push the boundaries of what it means to dance on pointe. While both Mason Simon Underwood and Colleen Werner are longtime GM wearers, they stand out from the rest of this year's group: Underwood is the first ever Gaynor Guy, and Werner is a body-positivity activist.

Keep reading SHOW LESS
Dylan Giles, Courtesy Festival Ballet Providence

Festival Ballet Providence's New Leap Year Program Gives Dancers Facing a Gap Year a Place to Grow

A new training program at Festival Ballet Providence called Leap Year is welcoming pre-professional and professional dancers who don't have a studio or company to dance for this season.

The endeavor is the brainchild of Kathleen Breen Combes, FBP's executive and artistic director. "I kept getting these emails of dancers saying they just need a place to train this year," says Combes. "I thought, What if we could provide a space for dancers to get stronger, experiment and try new things in a nonjudgmental and no-pressure environment?"

Keep reading SHOW LESS

Editors' Picks