Some call the International Ballet Competition in Jackson, Mississippi, the Olympics of dance. It comes around every four years, draws an international roster of competitors and bestows medals, contracts, cash awards and scholarships upon the some of best and brightest young talents in the world. The competition, which started June 14, has narrowed down the list of 99 competitors to 31 finalists. Here are the six Americans who made the cut. (All photography by Richard Finkelstein, courtesy IBC Jackson.)
How many aspiring dancers have given up because their body type failed to conform to ballet’s ideals? The Ovation network’s new series, “Big Ballet,” which had its American premiere last week, takes weight out of the equation for 18 plus-size dancers. The show follows Wayne Sleep, a former Royal Ballet principal dancer, and Monica Loughman, artistic director of the Monica Loughman Ballet in Ireland, as they prepare the dancers for a production of Swan Lake.
As if Daniel Ulbricht didn’t already have enough on his plate. In addition to dazzling audiences at New York City Ballet and serving as artistic advisor for Manhattan Youth Ballet, he’s co-producing Dance Against Cancer: An Evening to Benefit the American Cancer Society.
The National Ballet of Canada has announced it’s coming to New York City this September, where they’ll perform Christopher Wheeldon’s full-length Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland at the David H. Koch Theater. NYC audiences haven’t seen the Toronto-based company since 2005. The stop is part of an initiative started by NBC Artistic Director Karen Kain to tour more frequently to world dance centers. Last season, the company traveled to Los Angeles (where it will return this summer), Washington DC, and Saratoga Springs.