Some may consider New York's Symphony Space a smaller theater, but big things were happening inside June 6–10. Just under 200 young dancers from all over the world were testing their luck at the Valentina Kozlova International Ballet Competition in hopes of receiving scholarships, medals and company contracts. Their jury? An international panel of company and school directors, chaired by Andris Liepa, that included State Ballet of Georgia's Nina Ananiashvili, Boston Ballet School's Peter Stark, Dance Theatre of Harlem's Virginia Johnson and Cincinnati Ballet' s Victoria Morgan.


After several rounds of classical and contemporary categories, the winners were announced June 10. For the first time in VKIBC's history, it awarded two Grand Prix prizes. Five lucky dancers also were offered company contracts from Boston Ballet, Cincinnati Ballet and Columbia Classical Ballet. A gala performance followed, in which the competition's founder, former Bolshoi and New York City Ballet principal Valentina Kozlova, honored Dance Theatre of Harlem founding artistic director Arthur Mitchell.

Below are highlights of the week's achievements. (There are a lot more! A full list of medalists and scholarship winners can be found here.)


Grand Prix:

Bakhtiyar Adamzham, Kazakhstan (Classical)

Sungmin Kim, South Korea (Contemporary)


Classical Junior Division (15–17), Female

Gold Medals: Rheya Shano, USA; Yuyu Ichikawa, Belgium

SIlver Medal: Mari Bell, Canada

Bronze Medals: Talia Egge, USA; Madison Holdsworth, USA


Classical Junior Division (15–17), Male

No Gold or Silver medals awarded

Bronze Medals: João Paulo Jezler, Brazil; Marco Marongiu, Italy


Classical Senior Division (Ages 18 - 26), Female

Gold Medal: Yu Jeong Choi, South Korea

Silver Medal: Eunhye Lee, South Korea

Bronze Medal: Francesca Loi, Italy


Classical Senior Division (Ages 18 - 26) Male

Gold Medals: Jinsol Eum, South Korea; Koyo Yanagishima, USA

Silver Medals: Justin Valentine, USA; Jun Kyoung Kim, South Korea

Bronze Medals: Serik Nakyspekov, Kazakhstan; Marcos Silva, Brazil


Contemporary, Division III (Ages 15 - 17), Female

Gold Medal: Nikita Boris, USA

Silver Medal: Yul Ui Kim, South Korea

Bronze Medals: Alexia Duff, USA; Semi Lim, South Korea


Contemporary Division III (Ages 15 - 17), Male

No Gold medal awarded

Silver Medal: Gabriel Barbosa, Brazil

Bronze Medals: Roberto Santos, Brazil; Khevyn Sigismondi, Belgium


Contemporary. Division IV (Ages 18 and Up), Female

Gold Medal: Jooeun Son, South Korea

Silver Medal: Kyungmee Hwang, South Korea; Scarlet Oliveira, Brazil

Bronze Medal: Yasmine Matos, Brazil; Isabella Souza, Brazil


Contemporary Division IV (Ages 18 and Up), Male

Gold Medal: DongHun Go, South Korea; Haneul Jung, South Korea

Silver Medal: Seungmin Choi, South Korea; Justin Valentine, USA

Bronze Medal: In Hyeok Jung, South Korea; Jey Santos, Brazil


Company Contracts:

Boston Ballet: Natasha Snogren, USA

Cincinnati Ballet: Marcos Silva, Brazil

Columbia Classical Ballet: Camila Rodrigues, Brazil; Mari Bell, Canada; Lily Saito, USA

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