ADC IBC Undergoes Big Changes for Next Season
When the coronavirus pandemic shut down the world in March of 2020, dance leaders acted quickly, exploring the possibilities of virtual training and performances. Ballet competitions were no exception. When Audrianna Broad, president and artistic director of the American Dance Competition | International Ballet Competition, canceled the 2020 event just weeks before it was supposed to happen, she went into problem-solving mode. ADC | IBC came back in a two-part format in 2021, with an online semifinal component and a smaller, in-person final round in late March. The new way of working presented so many creative possibilities that Broad and her team have decided to formally change the competition’s format.
“The unexpected silver lining that arose was a sense of freedom professionally, in that this was the time to shift and make changes to reflect the dance community we now serve,” says Broad, who founded ADC | IBC 17 years ago. “Our timeline was compressed down significantly to adjust for the pandemic, so it forced us to pinpoint the elements that were necessary to keep, expand on or remove.”
In past years, ADC | IBC was a weeklong event held in St. Petersburg, Florida. It consisted of adjudicated technique classes, a compulsory round (in which the dancers learned classical and contemporary variations in a group setting) and then final-round solo performances onstage. For 2021, ADC | IBC reformatted the compulsory round so that it served as the participants’ first classical stage variation, with a one-on-one coaching session prior to performing. The sense of pride and excitement Broad saw from students as a result of this change, and the increased access to scholarship and job opportunities that the virtual semifinals gave to dancers, sparked some ideas for how ADC | IBC would continue.
For 2022, the competition will host in-person regional semifinals, touring to eight U.S. cities. Broad brought on former Ballet West Academy director Peter Merz to be ADC | IBC’s regional tour director.
“By having a regional semifinal tour that spans the country, we hope to give more dancers an opportunity to participate in our event and to be seen by the partner schools and companies that we work with,” says Merz, who has previously served as the artistic administrator for the USA International Ballet Competition in Jackson, Mississippi. Tour cities will be Boston, Raleigh, San Francisco, Las Vegas, Pittsburgh, Seattle, Houston and Atlanta. International students may apply via video. “We are striving to include companies that perhaps haven’t participated in this kind of event before, so that dancers can find training opportunities that they might not have previously been aware of,” Merz says.
The semifinals will consist of an adjudicated classwork component, prepared classical and contemporary solos, and panel-discussion forums with jury members. “The jury for these regionals will include representatives from new partner organizations, as well as our current partners,” says Merz, to provide more possibilities for dancers and companies to connect. Partner schools will be encouraged to consider students for scholarships at the regionals.
Approximately 25 dancers from each semifinal—around 200 total—will then head to the finals in St. Petersburg. In addition to adjudicated technique classes and prepared solos, dancers will learn a compulsory classical variation and receive individualized coaching. The final round will be judged by a panel of second company and artistic directors. “We wanted to expand opportunities throughout the nation, while keeping finals at a size where each dancer can be fully seen and have a chance at securing training or employment,” says Broad.
Semifinal registration opens in August; the video application period for international students and approved U.S. dances is from October 1–November 1. For more information, go to adcibc.com.