Big Talent on Tap for Next Week's Erik Bruhn Prize
The dance world's abundance of talent can be dizzying, but there are a few "crystal balls" that allow dancers and fans alike to get a glimpse of tomorrow's megastars. For one, there's Dance Magazine's 25 to Watch, our annual list of promising artists across all dance genres—look for the latest edition in our January issue! (In 2005 alone, we tapped Michelle Dorrance, Matthew Neenan, Teresa Reichlen and Amy Seiwert.) The prestigious Princess Grace Awards have also been a barometer for future stardom. (Ethan Stiefel, Robert Battle, Derick K. Grant and so many others all received awards from the Princess Grace Foundation early in their careers.) And finally, international competitions, particularly for ballet, do a fantastic job at highlighting young talent.
NBoC's Félix Paquet and Calley Skalnik rehearsing for the Erik Bruhn Prize. Photo by Karolina Kuras, Courtesy NBoC.
Next Tuesday, November 15, the Twelfth International Competition for The Erik Bruhn Prize will do just that. Male and female competitors from American Ballet Theatre, Hamburg Ballet, The Royal Ballet, San Francisco Ballet and the National Ballet of Canada will come together in Toronto to display their considerable talents. The list of competitors includes some recognizable names, like American Ballet Theatre's Cassandra Trenary and Gabe Stone Shayer, as well as some lesser-known up-and-comers, like 17-year-old Natasha Sheehan, who recently joined San Francisco Ballet's corps.
Next week's event includes the following performances by each pair: a classical pas de deux and variation, plus a contemporary pas de deux or solo. Just being chosen to compete shows a real vote of confidence from these dancers' artistic directors, but only one male and female will walk away with the Erik Bruhn Prize and $7,500 cash. Additionally, four dancers will be competing for a separate prize for choreography, plus $2,000 cash. The full list of participants is as follows:
ABT's Cassandra Trenary and Gabe Stone Shayer
Hamburg Ballet's Madoka Sugai and Christopher Evans
National Ballet of Canada's Félix Paquet and Calley Skalnik
The Royal Ballet's Chisato Katsura and Harrison Churches
San Francisco Ballet's Natasha Sheehan and Angelo Greco
ABT's Jeffrey Cirio
Hamburg Ballet's Marc Jubete
The Royal Ballet's Calvin Richardson
San Francisco Ballet's Myles Thatcher
While it's impossible to say where the winners of the 2016 Erik Bruhn Prize will end up, they could just be the some of the most famous performers, choreographers and directors of tomorrow. (Here's looking at you, Julie Kent, Johan Kobborg and Gennadi Nedvigin, just to name a few past winners.)
More than once, when I'm sporting my faded, well-loved ballet hoodie, some slight variation of this conversation ensues:
"Is your daughter the dancer?"
"Actually," I say, "I am."
"Wow!" they enthuse. "Who do you dance with? Or have you retired...?"
"I don't dance with a company. I'm not a professional. I just take classes."
Insert mic drop/record scratch/quizzical looks.
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Voting is open until September 17th. Only one vote per person will be counted.
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Now, the first graduating class is entering the dance field. Here, six of the 33 graduates share what they're doing post-grad, what made their experience at USC Kaufman so meaningful and how it prepared them for their next steps:
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