Magazine article Dance Magazine

NY Ballet Competition Is Worldly Affair

Magazine article Dance Magazine

NY Ballet Competition Is Worldly Affair

Article excerpt

FEW COMPETITION organizers say, "The medal is not important," as emphatically as Ilona Copen, founder and director of the New York International Ballet Competition. Most contests climax at the awards ceremony, but here, just being invited to compete defines success. This month, twenty-four competitors will spend three weeks working with master teachers and coaches at the sixth NYIBC at Lincoln Center's Alice Tully Hall. Competitors are chosen from a pool of fifty international applicants, representing twenty countries, including the Dominican Republic, Israel, Iceland, Mongolia and Lithuania.

"The New York International Ballet Competition is different from all others because we are the only competition where the repertory is taught here in New York. The dancers don't know what the repertory is going to be until they get here," said Copen, whose Manhattan office is a stone's throw from City Center, where the dancers take class, and Alice Tully, where the dancers compete. "This is much more than a competition. It is an unbelievable learning experience."

Copen founded the event in 1984 and has been steadfast in her mission: "What's important here is the process: the learning, the sharing. It's not just an opportunity to dance on the stage, but an opportunity for many of these dancers to come out of their countries for the first time and to be in New York, be with all of these other dancers from all over the world, and have the opportunity to work with marvelous coaches and teachers and experience something other than their isolated area. For many of them, it's quite an eye-opener because many are the best where they're coming from, and all of a sudden they are thrown in with twenty-three other couples. They're in the same studio with the same teachers and coaches, learning the same steps. It's very exciting for them: Most are like sponges. …

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