Kim Heesun (South Korea), the winner of the Jane Erkko Grand Prix in 2016. Photo: Mirka Kleemola

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Organised now for the ninth time, the Helsinki International Ballet Competition is an opportunity for young, talented dancers to present themselves to an international jury and to the public at large. The competition performances will take place at the Finnish National Opera and Ballet over seven days, from 31 May to 6 June 2022.

Entrants compete either in the junior category (ages 15 to 19) or the senior category (ages 20 to 25), performing both classical ballet and contemporary dance. Applications were received from 151 dancers from all over the world. The names of the applicants accepted for the IBC Helsinki can be found here.

Eight of the accepted entrants are Finnish. Those in the junior category are Tuuli Ezer (Ballet School of the Finnish National Opera and Ballet), Matleena Lundelin (Helsinki Dance Institute), Anni Martinsen (Ballet School of the Finnish National Opera and Ballet), Pinja Rissanen (Vaganova Ballet Academy) and Edith Stenvall (Youth Company of the Finnish National Ballet). Those in the senior category Aino Louhivaara (Kielo Dance Company), Viola Länsivuori (Finnish National Ballet) and Heidi Salminen (Finnish National Ballet).

Helsinki International Ballet Competition is well known and appreciated

Established by prima ballerina and Professor Doris Laine-Almi in 1984, the Helsinki International Ballet Competition is one of the world's largest and most highly appreciated ballet competitions. The previous edition of the competition was organised in 2016. The organiser is the Helsinki International Ballet Competition Association, chaired by star dancer and choreographer Minna Tervamäki.

"We are eagerly looking forward to the IBC Helsinki beginning next week. Our high-quality arrangements in the wonderful premises of the Finnish National Opera and Ballet create an important setting for young dancers to improve themselves and to gain competition experience," says Tervamäki.

The International Jury is chaired by Madeleine Onne, Artistic Director of the Finnish National Ballet, and the other members are:
Nina Ananiashvili, prima ballerina and Artistic Director of the Georgian State Ballet
Frank Andersen, Bournonville ballet producer
Julio Bocca, teacher and coach
Jorma Elo, choreographer at the Boston Ballet
Nicolas Le Riche, Artistic Director of the Royal Swedish Ballet
Brooklyn Mack, International Principal Guest Artist

There are 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 both categories. The prizes include a cash sum but may also serve as a career turning point and boost for professional development for prize winners.

Performances during the competition week

The order of performance for entrants will be established by drawing lots in the evening on Sunday 29 May and will be posted on the IBC Helsinki website immediately afterwards. There will be both junior and senior category entrants in all rounds. The entrants qualifying for the Second Rounds will be announced after the third session of the First Round. The entrants qualifying for the Final Rounds will be announced after the last Second Round. The jury results will be returned overnight.

The competition week culminates with the Gala on Monday 6 June, with international ballet stars Brooklyn Mack and Maria Baranova as guest performers. The winners of the will be announced during the evening. Entrants will perform some of their repertoire selected by the jury.

First Rounds | Almi Hall
Classical ballet
Tue 31 May, 7–10pm | Wed 1 Jun, 2–5pm and 7–10pm

Second Rounds | Almi Hall
Contemporary dance
Thu 2 Jun, 7–10pm | Fri 3 Jun, 7–10pm

Final Rounds | Main Stage
Classical ballet and contemporary dance
Sat 4 Jun, 7–10pm | Sun 5 Jun, 7–10pm

Gala and Awards Ceremony | Main Stage
Mon 6 Jun, 7–10pm

Source: Helsinki International Ballet Competition Association