South Africa, South Korea and China sweep the medal board with SA taking three golds at the 8th SA International Ballet Competition that came to a stunning close on Saturday 23 October at Artscape
The 8th South African Ballet International Ballet Competition (SAIBC), held at the Artscape Opera House before Anroux Marais the Minister of Cultural Affairs and Sport, Zahid Badroodien, the Mayoral Committee Member for Community Services and Health, and a buoyant capacity audience, came to a spectacular close on Saturday 23 October 2021 with South Africa and South Korea taking eight medals apiece and China winning three.
The week- long hybrid event kicked off on World Ballet Day on 19 October 2021 and saw 180 dancers participating from 28 countries, with seventy South African dancers on the Artscape stage and the remaining international contestants competing via pre-recorded video. Audiences in the theatre and watching online saw each and every competitor, with the virtual entries being projected onto a huge screen on the stage.
The eighteen member Jury, comprised of the heads of some of the world’s leading ballet schools, academies and training facilities, represented six continents for the first time since the SAIBC’s inception in 2008. At any given time, five of the panel assessed the dancers in real time, while three were present in the auditorium- Xola Willie from Mzansi Ballet, Allison Hendricks from Dance for All and Bovim Ballet from Bovim Ballet. Aside from the three attending in person at Artscape, the remaining panellists watching Live.
There were three double medalists this year: Xu Wensheng (19) from China who won gold and silver in the Classical and Contemporary Senior Sections respectively, Minjin Kim (15) who won silver and bronze in the Junior Classical and Contemporary Sections respectively and Miguel Franco-Green (15) from South Africa who won gold and bronze in the Junior Contemporary and Classical sections respectively. His compatriots Navin Jacobs (18) took gold in the Senior Contemporary Section and Lumé Fourie (10) winning gold in the Scholar Contemporary Section.
The Gala performance was a stunning dance celebration loaded with joie de vivre that included guest performances by Mzansi Ballet’s Xola Willie and Veronica Louw in a world première pas de deux from upcoming 2022 production of The Gold Rhino with both dancers exquisitely costumed by David Tlale; international ballerina Camille Bracher, a former dancer with The Royal Ballet and Wayne McGregor’s Company in the UK as well as Jozi Youth Dance Company, Leap for Joy Dance Studio, Jacqui Pells School of Ballet, children from Dance for All, First Step Ballet McGregor and members of the University of the Western Cape Community Chamber Choir. Every SAIBC participant took part in a fun finale choreographed by Adele Blank.
Aside from the medals, certain competitors were awarded special prizes. Lauren Wycherley (12) Australia won an International Scholarship place The Royal Ballet School. Monica Cristina Tapia Mayo, Yasiel Hodelin, Paola de Jesus Gonzalez Gonzalez from Cuba won a scholarship place at the Berlin State Ballet School. MinSeo Chung (15), Erin Meejune Jung (15), Minjin Kim (15), Ji Youn Song (14) and Dong Hui Kim (14) from South Korea are encouraged to apply to the Royal Ballet School’s Intensive Course in South Korea so that the Royal Ballet School Team can meet and teach them in person. Kohana Williams (15) from New Zealand, and South Africans Gia lipschitz (12), Zeinab Ntombifuthi Kone (13) and Nico Prinsloo (13) and Leichen Pullen (13) were invited to take a Master Class on Zoom and have an audience with The Royal Ballet School’s Artistic Director Christopher Powney. In further exciting news for South African dancers, Omolemo Mabi (8), Emily Oks (13) and Emily Fortuin (15), all from the Western Cape, were awarded a SAIBC/Mzansi Ballet School ballet intensive in Johannesburg in 2022.
The Judges assessed dancers across four categories this year: Novices age 6 to 8, Scholars age 9 to 11, Juniors age 12 to 15 and Seniors age 16 to 19. The medal winners are as follows:
SENIOR CONTEMPORARY – GIRLS
Gold : Grieta Grinberga (19) Latvia
Silver: Huang Xuetong (19) from China and YunJi Ahn (17) South Korea
Bronze: Jawaun Bester (16) South Africa
SENIOR CONTEMPORARY – BOYS
Gold: Navin Jacobs (18) South Africa
Silver: Xu Wensheng (19) China
Bronze: Paolo de Jesus Gonzalez Gonzalez (19) Cuba
SENIOR CLASSICAL – GIRLS
Gold: Chae Eun Park (18) South Korea
Silver: Maria Louisa Marques Barrios (18) Cuba
Bronze: Nina Nashiki (16) Germany/Japan
SENIOR CLASSICAL – BOYS
Gold: Xu Wensheng (19) China (double medal winner)
Silver: Yusei Kobayasji (17) Germany/Japan
Bronze: Richard Darel Gonzalez (19) Cuba
JUNIOR CLASSICAL GIRLS
Gold: Ji Youn Song (14) South Korea
Silver: Minjin Kim (15) South Korea (double medal winner)
Bronze: Erin Meejune Jung (15) South Korea
JUNIOR CLASSICAL BOYS
Gold: Dong Hui Kim (14) South Korea
Silver: Nico Prinsloo (13) South Africa
Bronze: Miguel Franco-Green (15) South Africa (double medal winner)
JUNIOR CONTEMPORARY GIRLS
Gold: YeWon Sim (15) South Korea
Silver: MinJi Kim (14) South Korea
Bronze: Minjin Kim (15) and Elsje Styger () South Africa
JUNIOR CONTEMPORARY BOYS
Gold: Miguel Franco-Green (15) South Africa
Silver: Nico Prinsloo (13) South Africa
Bronze: Michael Hodges (13) South Africa pic by Joan
SCHOLAR CLASSICAL – GIRLS
Gold: Chloe Lahood (12) Australia
Silver: Tegshjargal Khashkuu (9) Mongolia
Bronze: Eve Vlahodimos (9) Australia
SCHOLAR CONTEMPORARY – GIRLS
Gold: Lume Fourie (10) South Africa
Silver: Zoe Prinsloo (11) South Africa
Bronze: Micke van Rooyen (11) South Africa
Gold: Khaliun Sukhbaatar (8) Mongolia
The SAIBC 2021 in association with Artscape was generously supported by the Western Cape Government’s Department of Cultural Affairs and Sport, the City of Cape Town and the Joan St Leger Lindbergh Charitable Trust.
Recorded sessions will be available online until 7 November 2021 with tickets via Computicket and the ArtOfLife app available for free download on the App Store and Google Play Store.