Press release May 23rd, 2016
Helsinki International Ballet Competition begins
The eighth Helsinki International Ballet Competition will take place at the Finnish National Opera and Ballet between 24 May – 2 June 2016. There will be 67 competitors from 19 countries participating in the competition. The dancers compete in either the junior category for ages 15–19 or the senior category for ages 20–25. First launched by Professor Doris Laine-Almi in 1984, the Helsinki competition is one of the most demanding and prestigious international ballet competitions. The previous competition was held in 2012.
From the first round to the final and the Gala
The competition kicks off at Almi Hall with five days of first rounds and semifinals, from which the best dancers are selected for the finals held at the Main Auditorium. Over the course of the competition, the dancers are required to perform both classical ballet and contemporary dance. The Gala Performance and Award Ceremony takes place on 2 June, featuring the most successful dancers of the competition. In addition, the show will be starring Ida Viikinkoski, a Finnish ballerina currently signed with the Paris Opera Ballet, and Iana Salenko, principal dancer at the Berlin State Ballet, with Marian Walter as her partner.
A week-long learning journey
Besides fame and glory, the winners of the Helsinki International Ballet Competition will be awarded prize money of EUR 80,000 in total. The First Prize in the competition, the Jane Erkko Grand Prix, is EUR 15,000. Kenneth Greve, Artistic Director at the Finnish National Ballet and chair of the competition jury, believes that each competitor will return home a winner. He sees the competitions as a valuable learning experience for young dancers.
-Participation offers a great opportunity to meet other dancers and learn from them. The competition is a week-long journey, during which learning, networking and building international contacts are just as important as succeeding in the competition, Greve says.
Seven Finnish dancers selected
There are seven dancers in the competition representing the host country Finland. The Finnish competitors in the junior category are Sara Antikainen (Finnish National Ballet Youth Company), Katariina Hietala (Finnish National Opera Ballet School), Atte Kilpinen (Finnish National Ballet Youth Company), Ella Puurtinen (Vaganova Ballet Academy, St Petersburg) and Heidi Salminen (Pirkanmaa Tanssiopisto), and in the senior category Suvi Honkanen (Finnish National Ballet) and Maria Martyanova (Hungarian National Ballet).
A jury of seven presides over the competition, including directors and choreographers of the world’s leading ballets.
Kenneth Greve, President of the Jury, Artistic Director of Finnish National Ballet
Nina Ananiashvili, Artistic Director at the State Ballet of Georgia
Angel Corella, Artistic Director of Pennsylvania Ballet
Jorma Elo, Choreographer
Maina Gielgud, Artistic Advisor for the Hungarian National Ballet, international guest teacher and coach
Hae Shik Kim, Chairperson of the Korea Youth Ballet Stars, Dean of the Korea National University of Arts
Feng Ying, Artistic Director of the National Ballet of China