Ballet Journey

The Ballet Journey is a unique opportunity to explore the world of ballet and our ballet competition. The Helsinki International Ballet Competition will take place at the Finnish National Opera and Ballet from 30 May to 6 June 2022.

The HIBC is one of the most valued ballet competitions in the world. The competition is known for its excellent organisation, high-level jury, talented international competitors and the spirit of springtime in Helsinki.

We have created the Ballet Journey cultural experience in connection with the competition, including tickets for the best seats in the performances by future ballet stars, the gala with the awards ceremony and a supplementary programme. You will meet the jury members, competitors, coaches, choreographers, costume designers, physiotherapists, ballet influencers and enthusiasts. You will also be influencing the future of ballet in Finland by supporting the organisation of the HIBC.

The Ballet Journey guides are ballet experts Heidi Almi and Liisa Härö. You can read more about Heidi and Liisa after the programme. 


Day 1 | Monday 30 May

5.30–7 pm The HIBC and the Ballet Journey will start at the City of Helsinki reception at City Hall, Pohjoisesplanadi 11-13, Helsinki. The HIBC is one of the most significant cultural competitions in Finland in 2022. The patron of the competition is the Mayor of Helsinki, Juhana Vartiainen. If you want to attend the reception with a group of Ballet Journey participants, you can join Heidi Almi and Liisa Härö in the foyer of City Hall between 5.20 and 5.30 pm.

Day 2 | Tuesday 31 May

5 pm Welcome to the Ballet Journey! Almi Hall foyer, Opera House, entrance on the Töölönlahti side. Minna Tervamäki, Chair of the Board of the HIBC, dancer and choreographer, discusses the importance of the competition. Tour guides Heidi Almi and Liisa Härö talk about the competitors and the programme of the week. After that, they guide you to the first round of the programme.

5.30 pm A journey into the world of master costume designer Erika Turunen, who has designed costumes for ballets, contemporary dance productions, operas and theatre performances. Turunen is a respected costume designer both in Finland and worldwide. She is a person of artistic detail and enchanting innovation – serving the performer and the work.

6.30 pm Break

7 pm 1st round, Almi Hall

Day 3 | Wednesday 1 June

2 pm 1st round continues, Almi Hall

5.30 pm Ballet Dancer’s Wellness Recipe, Almi Hall foyer. Award-winning physiotherapist Pasi Lind talks about dancers' physical and mental coaching and the importance of nutrition. Asla Jääskeläinen, who trained as a physiotherapist after his career as a ballet dancer, contributes to the discussion.

6.30 pm Break

7 pm 1st round continues, Almi Hall

Day 4 | Thursday 2 June

5.30 pm Meeting of the judges chaired by Madeleine Onne, president of the jury. Madeleine Onne is the artistic director of the Finnish National Ballet and has been a judge at numerous international ballet competitions. The discussion will be hosted by Minna Tervamäki. Almi Hall foyer.

 6.30 pm Break

 7 pm 2nd round begins, Almi Hall

Day 5 | Friday 3 June

5.30 pm Getting to know the rehearsals of ballet competitors. Some of the competitors are already rehearsing for the final programme, as the finalists will be announced on the night between Friday and Saturday. In addition to rehearsals, Heidi Almi and Liisa Härö guide you around the Opera House. Meet in the Almi Hall foyer.

 6.30 pm Break

 7 pm 2nd round continues, Almi Hall

Day 6 | Saturday 4 June

5.30 pm Meeting with a ballet competitor and a coach (to be confirmed).

6.30 pm Break

7 pm The final round begins on the Main Stage.

Day 7 | Sunday 5 June

5.30 pm The Future of Ballet panel, Almi Hall foyer. The popularity of ballet is growing. The Finnish National Ballet is celebrating its centenary. Classical ballet delights. At the same time, reform trends are emerging in ballet. What is the future of ballet for us and the world? The future of ballet will be discussed by dancer and choreographer Jorma Uotinen, HIBC Board Chair Minna TervamäkiJavier Torres – the new artistic director of the National Ballet as of August 2022, dancer and choreographer Johanna Nuutinen and dance artist Sofia Ruija.

The discussion will be moderated by YLE journalist Jenny Jägerhorn, who is a former ballet dancer herself and has worked as a journalist for various media since 2008.

6.30 pm Break

7 pm The final round continues on the Main Stage.

Day 8 | Monday 6 June

7 pm Gala and the awards ceremony, Main Stage. If you have purchased the gala dinner, you will have assigned table seating. During the evening, you will be visited at your table by competitors, jury members and organisers.

Meet the Ballet Journey guides

Heidi Almi and Liisa Härö have worked both at the old and current Opera House. The new building was completed in 1993. Heidi and Liisa will guide you to the present world of ballet, as well as open doors to the past.

Heidi Almi was engaged as a ballet dancer e.g. at the Zurich Opera Ballet and the Ballett am Rhein in Düsseldorf, having trained at the Ballet School of the Finnish National Opera.

Heidi Almi joined the HIBC founded by her mother Doris Laine in 1984. She was responsible for the practical arrangements of the first competition in Helsinki. This involved doing not just what the Secretary General of the competition does today but also things like stage arrangements and tempos for music. The first competition was held at the Helsinki City Theatre and was managed by a very small group of people. “It was a unique experience, even though I did not get much sleep during the competition. People just went briefly home in the morning to rest, to shower and to change their clothes.”

Since 1985, Heidi Almi held various positions in communications at the Finnish National Opera and Ballet: ballet spokesperson, information manager, communications manager and, for the last five years, stakeholder manager, in which role her duties included fundraising. Having retired in August 2021, she still gives presentations about the productions of the National Ballet, guides tours of the Opera House and is an active member of the Board of the Helsinki International Ballet Competition Association.

Liisa Härö has been assistant to six ballet directors: Gradimir Pankov, Doris Laine, Jorma Uotinen, Dinna Bjørn, Kenneth Greve and Madeleine Onne. Liisa has been involved in organising several editions of the HIBC, first as a volunteer and later three times as the secretary of the jury

“On the day when the competition starts, the Opera House is filled with competitors and their coaches from around the world. The atmosphere is tingling, as preparations have been going on for years among both the competitors and the organisation, not to speak of the eagerly expectant audience. A competition week is always an unforgettable experience, an amazing event and a learning journey. For myself, working as the secretary of an expert jury has given me profound insights into the world and future of ballet.”

Liisa Härö retired in autumn 2020 but remains an active ballet influencer on the Board of the Helsinki International Ballet Competition Association and a tour guide at the Opera House.


900 € without the gala dinner
980 € including the gala dinner

The Ballet Journey is available for purchase here.

The Ballet Journey is flexible: if you cannot join all events or performances you can give your tickets to your friends or family. After you have purchased the Ballet Journey, you will receive tickets for the best seats. We will email you other instructions.

More information:

The organizer of the Ballet Journey is the Helsinki International Ballet Competition Association.

The Ballet Journey programme has subject to change.