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PRESS: Cuba & South Africa sweep the medal board at 9th SA International Ballet Competition

Allison Foat


The 9th South African Ballet International Ballet Competition (SAIBC) came to a spectacular close at the Artscape Opera House on Saturday 30 July 2022. The festive event was a joyous celebration of outstanding ballet and contemporary dance that showcased the 2022 winners and featured guest appearances by professionals and vocational students from Mzansi Ballet. Every SAIBC participant also took part in a fun finale that was choreographed by Angela Revie.  

Aside from a delighted audience that came out in full support of the competitors, the closing Gala was attended by the international Jury panel that was present in person for the first time in two years. Speakers included Anroux Marais, the honourable Minister of the Western Cape Government Department of Cultural Affairs and Sport, and Councillor Mzwakhe Nqayashe the Safety and Security Portfolio Committee Chairperson for the City of Cape Town. Both the Western Cape Government and the City of Cape Town provide invaluable support for the annual SAIBC. 

The week- long SAIBC event kicked off on 26 July 2022 as a hybrid event that saw dancers participating onstage and via video from countries such as Mongolia,  Brazil, Australia, the USA, Germany, Malaysia, China, Nigeria, Latvia and South Korea.  International dancers that competed onstage at Artscape came from Cuba and Russia. The Judges assessed dancers in classical and contemporary genres across four categories being Novices age 6 to 8, Scholars age 9 to 11, Juniors age 12 to 15 and Seniors age 16 to 19.  

For solo entrants, Cuba scooped the most golds, winning four in total. Carolina Rodrigues, 18, won gold in both her classical and contemporary sections, as did her Cuban competition partner Pedro Dominguez, 18. Both train at the National Ballet School of Cuba. South African Nico Prinsloo, 13, who hails from Johannesburg and trains at the Mzansi Ballet Vocational School , won two golds for both his sections too. Overall, South Africa took home eight medals including  those awarded for group and duet performances. Both Rodrigues and Prinsloo also received additional Special Prizes that recognised exceptional talent, with Prinsloo winning the Geung Soo Kim Award of R10,000 for The Most Promising South African Dancer and Rodrigues winning the Special Jury Prize.  The third special award – the @BlacksinBallet prize – went to Zeinab Kone, 14, from Johannesburg and was presented by @blacksinballet co-founder, juror Ruan Galdino who is also a member of Joburg Ballet.

The 2022 panel of judges was made up of the heads of some of the world’s leading ballet schools, academies and training facilities in the world, namely Christoph Böhm (Germany), Guest ballet master and teacher at the Berlin State Ballet; Professor Geung Soo Kim (South Korea), former Artistic Director of the Korean National Ballet and president of the world Dance Alliance; Debbie Turner, CEO of Cape Town City Ballet and the Jury Chair; Roberta Martins (Switzerland), former ballerina and a ballet teacher at the Zürich Dance Academy; Ioshinobu Navarro Sanler (Spain/Cuba), teacher in the Cuban Dance Methodology and expert at Alicia Alonso Institute from the Alicia Alonso Foundation; Artemiy Pyzhov (Russia), First Soloist with the Ballet of Slovak National Theatre and a ballet teacher in Slovakia who trained at the Bolshoi Ballet School, and Ruan Galdino (Brazil / SA), Senior Soloist of Joburg Ballet.  The 7th Jury member, Professor Geung Soo Kim from South Korea was unable to travel to South Africa to adjudicate in person.

The 2022 medal winners are as follows: 

SENIOR CONTEMPORARY – GIRLS (only one medal is awarded in the contemporary section)

Gold : Carolina Rodrigues (18)   Cuba

SENIOR CONTEMPORARY - BOYS (only one medal is awarded in the contemporary section)

Gold: Pedro Pablo Dominguez  (18)  Cuba


Gold: Carolina Rodrigues (18) Cuba

Silver: Asa Waller (18)  New Zealand (online entry)

Bronze: Alisia Pak (18)  Russia


Gold: Pedro Dominguez (18) Cuba

Silver: Miguel Franco-Green (16)  South Africa

Bronze: Ivan Odinstov (18) Russia


Gold: Manon Baranger  (15) France (online entry)

Silver: Gia Lipschitz (13)  South Africa

Bronze: Maia Weisinger Braun (15)  Australia (online entry)


Gold: Nico Prinsloo (13) South Africa

Silver:  Mingyu Lee (14)  Republic of South Korea (online entry)

Bronze: Matthys de Beer (15) South Africa

JUNIOR CONTEMPORARY GIRLS (only one medal is awarded in the contemporary section)

Gold: Maia Weisinger Braun (15)  Australia (online entry)

JUNIOR CONTEMPORARY BOYS (only one medal is awarded in the contemporary section)

Gold: Nico Prinsloo (13)  South Africa


Gold: Bianca Wong (11) Malaysia (online entry)

Silver: Tegshjargal Khashkhuu (10)  Mongolia (online entry)

Bronze: Pilar Gamboa  (11)  USA (online entry)


Gold:  Pilar Gamboa (11)  USA (online entry)

NOVICE  (age 6-8)

Gold: Ndonlyamandzi Lulanga (9) Eswatini


Gold: ‘Emunah’ by the Break-Thru Dance Company in Durban, South Africa


Gold: ‘Dune’ by the Carstens/ Ireland Ballet School in Johannesburg, South Africa

The next South African International Ballet Competition will be held in Cape Town in 2023.

The SAIBC acknowledges the invaluable support of the City of Cape Town, the Western Cape Government Department of Cultural Affairs and Sport, the Mary Oppenheimer and Daughter Foundation, The Rockefeller Hotel & Residences (Newmark Hotels & Reserves) and other key Donors. 


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