Mackenzie Brown and Daichi Ikarashi Win the 2023 Erik Bruhn Prize

March 27, 2023

The esteemed Erik Bruhn Prize competition took place this past Saturday, March 25, and this year’s winners are Stuttgart Ballet soloist Mackenzie Brown and Royal Ballet artist Daichi Ikarashi; Stuttgart Ballet artist in residence Roman Novitzky won the Choreographic Prize for his contemporary duet, A Dialog. The annual competition, created in 1988 in honor of Danish danseur noble Erik Bruhn and held in Toronto, showcases promising young dancers ages 18 to 23 from companies with which Bruhn was affiliated during his career. Each participant is invited by their artistic directors and performs a classical pas de deux and variation, as well as an original contemporary work. For the first time ever, viewers from around the world were invited to watch a livestream of the evening’s events on National Ballet of Canada’s website.

This year’s participants also included American Ballet Theatre soloist Chloe Misseldine and corps member Tristan Brosnan, National Ballet of Canada second soloist Noah Parets and corps member Emerson Dayton, and Royal Ballet artist Viola Pantuso. Also competing for the Choreographic Prize were Lauren Lovette, Joshua Junker and NBoC’s recently appointed choreographic associate, Ethan Colangelo. NBoC rehearsal director, principal coach and former principal Rex Harrington hosted the evening’s events.

Two photos side-by-side show Daichi Ikarashi and Mackenzie Brown performing solo variations at the Erik Bruhn Prize competition.
(Left) Daichi Ikarashi in Diana and Acteon. (Right) Mackenzie Brown in Grand Pas Classique. Photos by Karolina Kuras, courtesy The National Ballet of Canada.

Brown, age 20 and a U.S. native, performed alongside Stuttgart principal Adhonay Soares da Silva, who was not competing (her original partner, Gabriel Figueredo, could not participate due to unforeseen circumstances, as announced in a press release last Tuesday). With picture-perfect fifth positions and cool strength in Grand Pas Classique, followed by a sophisticated, riveting performance in Novitzky’s A Dialog, Brown delivered a memorable performance.

Twenty-one-year-old Ikarashi of Japan secured a win with impressive air time and dynamics in the Diana and Actaeon pas de deux alongside an equally fiery Pantuso, then with clear articulation in Junker’s Things left unsaid. His high-flying entrance in the Diana and Actaeon coda elicited audible gasps from the in-person audience.

Brown and Ikarashi each win a cash prize and join the impressive roster of past Erik Bruhn Prize awardees, including 2019 winners Siphesihle November and Catherine Hurlin. We are excited to see how their careers develop. Congratulations to all!