Elite dancers battle for a share of $30K

The stage is set for the world’s best young dancers to jeté into Brisbane to compete in the inaugural Brisbane International Ballet Grand Prix from 20-22 March 2020. 

The lucrative ballet competition is the only one of its kind in Australia and is open to local and international non-professional dancers aged 10 – 19, who will compete for a prize pool of more than $30,000. 

A limited number of dancers will compete in each of the three age categories:

  • Junior (ages 10 – 11)
  • Intermediate (ages 12 – 14) 
  • Senior (ages 15 – 19) 

Prizemoney will be awarded as trust accounts to further the winners’ dance educations, with the largest portion of the prize pool reserved for the Open category winner ($10,000). 

Over the intensive three-day competition, dancers will participate in adjudicated classes, perform both a Classical and Contemporary solo piece and perform in an evening Gala before contesting Semi-Finals and a Grand Final.

They will be evaluated by a jury of leading International and Australian ballet professionals including former Principal of The Royal Ballet Mara Galeazzi, award-winning Australian ballerina Kristy Lee Denovan with other international stars to be announced.

Guest Creative Director Tim Podesta acknowledged that while the competitive element of the Brisbane International Ballet Grand Prix was enticing, the focus extended beyond winning and losing.

“This is far more than just a competition, this is an invaluable learning experience for the next generation of elite young dancers and we want to really maximise the long-term benefits such an opportunity can bring,” Mr Podesta said.

“We want this to be a holistic experience that encompasses every aspect of being a dancer: amazing physical feats but also the creativity and artistry.”

Aiding this layer of professional development is the exposure and access young dancers will have to leading ballet professionals.

“Australia is geographically isolated so exposure to a deep talent pool of world-class dancers is an element we find lacking,” Mr Podesta said.

“Populating the jury panel with professionals from renowned international companies will give Brisbane International Ballet Grand Prix participants a rare opportunity to perform for and learn from dancers who are at the top of their game.”

Mr Podesta will also mentor young dancers on their contemporary solo pieces and choreograph an opening Defilé (parade of dancers) for Saturday’s Gala.

The Brisbane International Ballet Grand Prix is modelled on a number of other large competitions around the world but is looking to make a shift in the competition arena.

Emerging Australian dancers looking to prove themselves among the world’s elite have long travelled to compete in Youth American Grand Prix (the largest of its kind in the world) as well as similar competitions including the Prix du Lausanne in Switzerland and the annual Asian Grand Prix.

Brisbane International Ballet Grand Prix Patron and renowned ballet educator Mark Brinkley said the inaugural event would make international opportunities more accessible to dancers from all areas of Australia.

“When you have stars like Mara Galeazzi come out to Australia and you’re offered the chance to work alongside them, the experience you gain as a young dancer is invaluable: from learning stage etiquette; to watching how they approach a piece; to how they train, rehearse and prepare; even to how they put their make-up on,” Mr Brinkley said.

“Up until now, young dancers had to travel overseas for this kind of experience and exposure.

“I hope the Brisbane International Ballet Grand Prix is just the start of a greater presence for us on the world stage where the talent of young local dancers is presented to a wider international community and artistic directors are inspired to travel to Australia more frequently to scout talent and hire our dancers.”

Entries are now open at balletgrandprix.com.au with dancers required to provide evidence of their training including level achieved and ballet syllabus studied.

The Brisbane International Ballet Grand Prix will be staged across three days from 20-22 March 2020 at Edmund Rice Performing Arts Centre, St Laurence’s College, 82 Stephens Road, South Brisbane.

Day 1: All dancers participate in adjudicated classes (closed session)
Day 2: Contemporary and Classical Solos + Gala evening
Day 3: Semi-Finals, Finals + Awards Ceremony 

Peter J Snee

Peter is a British born creative, working in the live entertainment industry. He holds an honours degree in Performing Arts and has over 12 years combined work experience in producing, directing and managing artistic programs & events. Peter has traversed the UK, Europe and Australia pursuing his interest in theatre. He is inspired by great stories and passionately driven by pursuing opportunities to tell them.

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