Artiklar från 2008 – till idag
The Artistic Director of the Finnish National Ballet, Madeleine Onne, worked as the chair of the judges at The 9th Helsinki International Ballet Competition. When welcoming us all to the prize distribution gala she explained how the judges were chosen and especially what criteria they would be using to choose the winners.
The main question is what kind of dancers are being looked for. A winner should show musicality in addition to technical skills, have artistry in the performance, be able to work in group - and to be a good human being, as she summed up in words things to be recognized by everybody.
The judges – the others also all well known in the ballet world – were Nina Ananiashvili, Frank Andersen, Nicolas Le Riche, Julio Bocca, Jorma Elo and Brooklyn Mack. They had a challenging task to choose the prize winners among many incredibly good dancers.
Onne continued that when choosing the best ones, the views among the judges had in many ways been the same, sometimes not at all. On Sunday evening after the finals the discussions had taken much time, until late night 2 a.m.
The 9th Helsinki International Ballet Competition, founded by dance artist and professor Doris Laine in 1984, was held at the premises of the Opera House. The interval of the competitions is normally four years, but now six years since last time before young dancers from various parts of the world could compete again, after all lockdowns.
They were divided into two series, juniors 15-19 and seniors 20-25 years. 62 dancers came from 16 countries, chosen by the organisation from 151 applicants.
It was an intense pleasure to follow the competition, from the days of First rounds with the old classic choreographies, the Second rounds with new choreography and Finals, where the participants chosen to continue should show themselves three times; in two classical variations or in one pas-de-deux with partner and in a modern number.
Audiences saw in this competition plenty of huge jumps, amazing pirouettes and utmost elegance in variations. Following the way through the competition of one junior dancer we can note Giulio Diligente, an Italian young man born 2003. He at the 1st round delivered beautiful excerpts from Talisman and Giselle variations as if it would be the easiest thing to perform, with easy looking jumps.
In second round he brought us with charm and presence to a modern piece called To Ground in You, and his final competing day consisted of variations of Don Quijote and La Esmeralda with marvellous jumps, and a modern Aye by Emrecan Tanis, presenting his acting skills.
The same Esmeralda part was danced by the senior finalist Yoshua Kissel, after some other convincing numbers, was awarded with 3rd prize. Giulio Diligente was awarded with Doris Laine prize. A choreography prize was not awarded but Tanis could have been the first to get it.
Wonderful dancing and elegance were to be seen in Yuka Masumoto's (senior) and Clark Eselgroth's (junior) pas de deux in Grand Pas Classic. In the 1st round when Clark danced his variation of Swan Lake with precision and empathy: I got a feeling that it was just simply perfect, everything was there to reward this fine dancer with junior boys 1st prize.
Also did Yuka Masumoto show her skills from the beginning–the technics, elegancy and shine showed in her performing of Paquita and Don Quijote variations. Later during the competition she was awarded the Grand Prix, and twith Clark Eselgroth the Pas de deux prize for a pair showing excellent work in dancing together.
One of the prized seniors, Viola Länsivuori, already working at the Finnish National Ballet, danced throughout the competition with perfection, and her variation from Satanella, a number chosen to be seen also at the gala, convinced us too with elegant phrasing.
Especially the number of well dancing junior boys was a delight to see. In the finals were high jumps with soft landings, elegancy in appearances and technical skills also admirably shown and delivered by most dancers. Let me highlight, among others, Vasco Yu Belo Prazeres Pereira (The Flames of Paris), Portugal; Ryo Hinoue (Le Corsaire), Japan, and the youngest competitor with his 15 years, the quite phenomenal Alexei Orohovsky, USA with Talisman.
A delight was always to see a charming young lady Hui Wen Peng, Taiwan, appear on scene, full of shine and lightness in dance. Anna Roberta Lahesoo from Estland taking the space totally in possession is an imposing dancer, familiar to some of us from the National Ballet of Estonia.
As Keita Fujishima was announced many spectators would cheer to this senior from Japan being awarded by 1st prize: elegancy in lines, fine dance phrasing and excellent presence. Thís all was to be seen also in Maya Schonbrun, USA, getting 1st prize junior ladies. Some specialities had she in her variation (Kitri, Don Quijote) like changing direction of diagonal in fouettés, with success.
Joy in dance was seen all through the competition and both the dancers and the public could enjoy the events. One could talk with others about the competitors, each one having their own opinions and favourites among the young dancers. They had their challenge to show themselves and perhaps get a job at a company.
The 9th Helsinki International Ballet Competition 31 May-6 June
Jane Erkko Grand Prix (20 000 €): Yuka Masumoto, Japan
Doris Laine -prize(12 000 €): Giulio Diligente, Italy
1st prize 10 000 € not delivered
2nd prize 7 000 €: Hui Wen Peng, Taiwan
3rd prize 5 000 €: Viola Länsivuori, Finland
1st prize 10 000 €: Keita Fujishima, Japan
2nd prize 7 000 €: Luciano Ghidoli, Italy
3rd prize 5 000 €: Joshua Kiesel, USA
1st prize 5 000 €: Maya Schonbrun, USA
2nd prize 3 500 €: Matoi Kawamoto, Japan
3rd prize 2 000 €: Alexis Workowski, USA
1st prize 5 000 €: Clark Eselgroth, USA
2nd prize 3 500 €: Alexei Orohovsky, USA
3rd prize 2 000 €: Vasco Yu Belo Prazeres Pereira, Portugal
Choreography Awards (5 000 €): not delivered
An acknowledgement prize delivered by the ballet association Attitydi from Lappeenranta for a young Finnish dancer of the junior category (1 000 €): Pinja Rissanen, Finland
An acknowledgement prize of the judges (1 000 €): Alexei Orohovsky, USA
Pas de deux -prize (5 000 €): Yuka Masumoto, Japan & Clark Eselgroth, USA
Grundad 1995. Est. 1995