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In the Presence of Greatness: Valentina Kozlova International Ballet Competition Gala Performance at the LaGuardia Concert Hall, NYC….

July 21, 2013
Yubal Eduardo Morales Rubio (Mexico) in Viktor Kabaniaev’s Notturno. Photo by Yelena Yeva

Yubal Eduardo Morales Rubio (Mexico) in Viktor Kabaniaev’s Notturno. Photo by Yelena Yeva

I was reminded of just how good of a dancer Daniel Ulbricht is during the Valentina Kozlova International Ballet Competition’s Gala Performance, held June 30th at the LaGuardia Concert Hall in NYC.

Mr. Ulbricht and Ana Sophia Scheller performed a rousing rendition of George Balanchine’s Tarantella, which is set to Louis Moreau Gottschalk’s Grand Tarentelle for Piano and Orchestra, Op. 67 (ca. 1866).

VKIThe Tarantella is an Italian folk dance that’s based upon the myth that when bitten by a Tarantula you had to dance the poison out of your body. Mr. Ulbricht and Ms. Scheller are dressed as gypsies and appear to actually be dancing for their lives. It was festive, vivacious and invigorating. These two dancers, both with the New York City Ballet, were the highlight of the evening.

Michelle Wiles (Ballet Next) and Georgina Pazcoguin (NYCB) performed Mauro Bigonzetti’s La Follia. I had seen Ms. Wiles perform this work once before, I remember liking it but not loving it. This performance chanced my perception greatly. The piece itself, as well as the performance was masterful. Brava to both Ms. Wiles and Ms. Pazcoguin.

Ballet Next’s Michelle Wiles in Mauro Bigonzetti’s La Follia. Photo by Gene Schiavone

Ballet Next’s Michelle Wiles in Mauro Bigonzetti’s La Follia. Photo by Gene Schiavone

Ximena Emiliani from Panama, who placed third in the Student Division (ages 13-14) began the evening with a beautifully danced variation for Grand Pas Classique. Ms. Emiliani blended her lyricism and technique for a wonderful performance. For so young an artist she is someone to watch, truly a gifted ballerina.

Yui Sugawara (Ellison Ballet), Jaimi Cullen (Tulsa ballet, Corps), Indiana Woodward (NYCB Corps), and Amber Miller, formerly a member of Eifman Ballet in St. Petersburg, Russia performed Jason Ambrose’s Women of Tudor.

Jason Ambrose’s  “Women of Tudor” - Amber Miller in the center, Indiana Woodward upstage of her, Yui Sugawara on the right, Jaimi Cullen on the left. Photo by Yelena Yeva

Jason Ambrose’s “Women of Tudor” – Amber Miller in the center, Indiana Woodward upstage of her, Yui Sugawara on the right, Jaimi Cullen on the left. Photo by Yelena Yeva

Mr. Ambrose took the Tudor women such Elizabeth I and Mary Tudor (Bloody Mary) as his inspiration for the quartet. Ms. Miller was the consummate diva, expecting/demanding the other women acquiesce to her in all things. A surprise ending ensued when the other three soon tired of Ms. Miller’s overbearing manner. It’s an intriguing work that Mr. Ambrose hopes to develop into a full-length ballet. Mr. Ambrose is a young choreographer of great vision and talent.

Yubal Eduardo Morales Rubio from Mexico performed Notturno, a contemporary work for which he received the Male Compulsory Award- Excellence in Interpretation. Choreographed by Viktor Kabaniaev to Franz Schubert, Notturno was the VKIBC 2013 compulsory male contemporary solo. Each male competitor was required to learn the work via a video which also included detailed notes concerning movement and phrasing.

It was obvious from the smooth transitions and his wonderful ballon that Mr. Rubio is a natural dancer. Mr. Rubio also received the Bronze Medal in the Senior Division (ages 18-25) as well as an offer of a contract with Houston Ballet II for the 2013-2014 Season.

Kota Fujishima, Silver Medalist in the Senior Male Division (ages 18-25) hit the stage like a bolt of lightning. Performing a variation from Flames of Paris, Mr. Fujishima’s execution of his tour jetes, switch leaps and revoltades was perfection. He would do six to eight pirouettes and end while still on demi-point. He was greeted with a standing ovation after the performance.

Kota Fujishima, VKIBC 2013 Silver Medalist in the Senior Male Division in Flames of Paris. Photo by Yelena Yeva

Kota Fujishima, VKIBC 2013 Silver Medalist in the Senior Male Division in Flames of Paris. Photo by Yelena Yeva

Formerly the Boston International Ballet Competition, the Valentina Kozlova International Ballet Competition (VKIBC) was founded by Valentina Kozlova, former principal dancer with the Bolshoi Ballet and New York City Ballet.

Approximately 90 dancers, ages 13-25, from 21 countries around the world came to New York City to participate in the Valentina Kozlova International Ballet Competition, performing before the distinguished panel of judges led by Andris Liepa, President, and Mikko Nissinen, Honorary President. They danced for company contracts, scholarships, and monetary awards, performing solos and duets from the repertory list provided by VKIBC.

MARK THE DATES

***April 28 and 29, 2014 at Symphony Space in New York City***

VKIBC will bring a new event: the International Contemporary Choreographers and Dancers Competition scheduled for April 28 and 29, 2014 at Symphony Space in New York City. The competition will feature solos, duets, and ensemble works of contemporary dancers and choreographers.

For information, visit www.vkibc.org.

 VKIBC will happen the following year, in 2015.

Dates to be announced later

 

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