Valentina Kozlova IBC Winners Announced

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

Latest Posts


xmb photography, Courtesy The Washington Ballet

The Washington Ballet's Sarah Steele on Her At-Home Workouts

Ballet at home: Since she's not preparing for any immediate performances, Steele takes ballet barre three to four times a week. "I'm working in more of a maintenance mode," she says, prioritizing her ankles and the intrinsic muscles in her feet. "If you don't work those muscles, they disappear really quickly. I've been focusing on a baseline level of ballet muscle memory."

What she's always working on: Strengthening her glute-hamstring connection (the "under-butt" area), which provides stability for actions like repetitive relevés and power for jumps. Bridges are her go-to move for conditioning those muscles. "Those 'basic food group'–type exercises are some of the best ones," she says.

Keep reading SHOW LESS
Getty Images

Hiding Injuries: Why Downplaying Pain Can Lead to Bigger Problems Down the Road

Sabrina Landa was thrilled to be offered a traineeship with Pennsylvania Ballet. "As a trainee, everything felt like a chance to prove myself as a professional," she says. Her training hours increased and she was dancing more than she ever had before. When Landa began experiencing pain in her metatarsals partway through the 2018 Nutcracker season, she notified the staff. "But in fear of losing my shows, I downplayed the severity of it," Landa says.

She notes that no one pushed her to keep dancing but herself. "I was 18 and was aiming to receive a contract by the end of the year," she says. "I felt so much anxiety over missing an opportunity that I was afraid to be honest about my pain." Pennsylvania Ballet's artistic staff were understanding and supportive, but Landa minimized her injury for the next few months, wanting to push through until the season ended and contracts were offered. But after months of pain and an onset of extreme weakness in her foot, Landa was diagnosed with two stress fractures in her second and third metatarsals. She spent the next three months on crutches and six months off dancing to allow for the fractures' delayed healing.

Keep reading SHOW LESS
Skjalg Bøhmer Vold, Courtesy Merritt Moore

How Quantum Physicist Ballerina Merritt Moore Learned to Dance With a Robot (Plus, Her Newest Film)

When the world went into lockdown last March, most dancers despaired. But not Merritt Moore. The Los Angeles native, who lives in London and has danced with Norwegian National Ballet, English National Ballet and Boston Ballet, holds a PhD in atomic and laser physics from the University of Oxford. A few weeks into the coronavirus pandemic, she came up with a solution for having to train and work alone: robots.

Keep reading SHOW LESS

Editors' Picks