(C) Helsinki International Ballet Competition

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The ninth Helsinki International Ballet Competition will take place at the Finnish National Opera and Ballet from 31 May to 6 June 2022. It is a unique forum for young dancers to present their skills to the audience and distinguished jury. Well established and internationally recognised, the competition is usually held every four years, but the 2020 edition was cancelled because of the coronavirus pandemic and postponed to 2022.

The talented dancers who will arrive in Helsinki from all around the world will be competing in the junior (15 to 19) and senior (20 to 25) categories.

Dancers have the opportunity to perform to an international jury whose invited members include well-known artistic directors of ballet companies and ballet specialists. The competition repertoire includes both classical ballet and contemporary dance. The jury is chaired by Madeleine Onne, Artistic Director of the Finnish National Ballet, and the other members include, among others, Nina Ananiashvili, prima ballerina and Artistic Director of the Georgian State Ballet; Julio Bocca, a long-standing first dancer with the American Ballet Theater and a teacher and coach; and Nicolas Le Riche, Artistic Director of the Royal Swedish Ballet.

There will be two main prizes in the competition, the Jane Erkko Grand Prix and the Doris Laine Prize. Additionally, 1st to 3rd prizes will be awarded in each category. Apart from the cash attached, the competition may be a turning point in a dancer's career and advance their professional development – many previous winners have found engagements with professional dance companies following the competition. The previous prizewinners include several dancers who have subsequently created distinguished careers, such as Barbora Kohoutková, Iana Salenko, Daniil Simkin and Maria Baranova.

Competitors to be announced in April

The names of the dancers who have qualified for the competition will be announced in early April. The first and second rounds will be held at Almi Hall from 31 May to 3 June, and the final round, concluding gala and prize ceremony will be held on the Main Stage from 4 to 6 June. "We are happy to finally have the opportunity to offer dancers and audiences alike the experience of this internationally significant competition in Helsinki. Dancers have been waiting all through the pandemic for their chance to shine on stage," says Emilia Rantalaiho, Secretary General of the competition.

The event is organised by the Helsinki International Ballet Competition Association, whose chair is star dancer and choreographer Minna Tervamäki. The competition is a member of the International Federation of Ballet Competitions. Established by prima ballerina and Professor Doris Laine-Almi (1931–2018), the Helsinki International Ballet Competition was first held in 1984.

Source: Helsinki International Ballet Competition Association

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