The Erik Bruhn Prize may be a quirky competition (participating dancers must come from one of the companies that Bruhn was associated with during his lifetime), but it has showcased many top dancers when they were just starting their careers. ABT principals Julie Kent and Michele Wiles, San Francisco Ballet principals Vanessa Zahorian and Gennadi Nedvigin, and Royal Ballet principal Johan Kobborg, among others, all won the Erik Bruhn Prize before becoming major ballet stars.
This year’s crop of competitors includes ABT’s Christine Shevchenko and Joseph Gorak, Hamburg Ballet’s Maria Baranova and Alexandr Trusch, Royal Danish Ballet’s Shelby Elsbree and Jon Axel Fransson, Stuttgart Ballet’s Elisa Badenes and Daniel Camargo and National Ballet of Canada’s Shino Mori and Naoya Ebe.
The winners each receive a $7,500 prize, and the winner of the Choreographic Prize earns $2,000. The judging panel consists of artistic directors or coordinators from each of the participating companies. New this year is the Audience Choice Award, which gives audience members an opportunity to vote for their favorite male and female dancers as well as their favorite new contemporary work. The competition takes place March 5 in Toronto—stay tuned for the results!