Established in 1984, the Helsinki International Ballet Competition is well known and appreciated worldwide. It provides young dancers with an opportunity to advance their careers, to make new contacts and to gain experience as a dancer. Entrants compete either in the junior category (ages 15 to 19) or the senior category (ages 20 to 25). The competition is organised by the Helsinki International Ballet Competition Association and is usually held every four years; the 2020 edition was postponed by two years because of the pandemic.
“The high quality of the applications we received was just wonderful. The Selection Committee had a difficult task screening the applicants. We are happy that we are now finally able to stage this event that is so important for young dancers, despite the challenging circumstances in the world at large. In difficult times, art brings us together even more,” says star dancer and choreographer Minna Tervamäki, chairperson of the association.
The first round and second round will be held in Almi Hall from 31 May to 3 June, and the final round will be held in the Main Stage on 4 and 5 June. Competitors are required to perform both classical ballet and contemporary dance. The week culminates in the gala and prize ceremony on 6 June. There are two main prizes, the Jane Erkko Grand Prix and the Doris Laine Prize, besides which 1st to 3rd prizes will be awarded in both categories. The international jury is chaired by Madeleine Onne, Artistic Director of the Finnish National Ballet.
Winners of previous editions of the competition include such internationally celebrated dancers as Oliver Matz, Barbora Kohoutková, Yao Wei, Iana Salenko, Daniil Simkin, Brooklyn Mack and Maria Baranova.