The final evening of the 4th South African International Ballet Competition (SAIBC), supported by the National Lottery Distribution Trust Fund (NLDTF) was held at the Artscape Theatre last night, Saturday 22 February, 2014. The prestigious event that runs every two years over a period of one week, saw the top Finalists go head-to-head as they danced magnificently for gold, silver and bronze medals and significant prize money. The Executive Deputy Mayor, Alderman Ian Neilson was present and was joined in the audience by dignitaries from the City of Cape Town, Foreign Embassy representatives, and ballet and contemporary dance lovers from throughout the City, the country and abroad.
Mthuthuzeli November, 20, a student at the Cape Academy of Performing Arts (CAPA) in Tokai, Cape Town, took Gold in the Senior contemporary section. Originally from the Zolani township outside Montagu, November trained with Dance for All before joining CAPA on full scholarship three years ago. He took Gold in the same category at the 2012 SAIBC. 14 year old Leroy Mokgatle from Johannesburg's Art On Motion school, who entered in the Scholar division was awarded the Silver medal in the classical section and Gold in the contemporary section. November, together with dancer Khanya Mandongana, 17, from the Cape Junior Ballet was also awarded a scholarship by SAIBC judge Melanie Person to train at the Alvin Ailey School in New York City of which she is co-director.
China scooped the biggest medal haul with 6 altogether, including five Golds, in both the contemporary and classical sections. The South Korean dancers also fared excellently, with 2 Golds and 2 Silvers in the contemporary and classical sections and the Cubans were awarded two Golds and a Silver. The competition began on 18th February 2014 with three days of intense elimination rounds, culminating in Saturday night’s grand affair when entrants from the USA, Cuba, Switzerland, Belgium, South Korea, Brazil, Japan, Russia, The Peoples Republic of China, and South Africa faced off for medals and R370,000 in prize money. Having watched the dancers’ progress throughout the week, the capacity audience was abuzz with anticipation as the exceptionally talented competitors, aged between 12 and 26 years of age, performed superbly in classical and contemporary solos and pas de deux such as Grand Pas Classique, Giselle, Don Quixote and Swan Lake, showcasing incredible versatility, artistry, musicality and a breathtaking technical standard. The distinguished jury for 2014 was made up of Julio Bocca, former principal dancer with American Ballet Theatre and the Artistic Director of the Ballet Nacional SODRE in Uruguay; South African Dawn Weller, former ballerina of PACT Ballet, Artistic Director of PACT Ballet/The State Theatre Ballet from 1983 to 2000, and now Director of Australia’s Graduate College of Dance; Hae Shik Kim, Founding Dean of the Korean National University of Arts School of Dance; a former ballerina and Artistic Director of the Korean National Ballet, now Artistic Director of the Seoul International Dance Competition; Xin Lili, former ballerina, now choreographer and artistic director of the Shanghai Ballet; Oliver Matz, former principal dancer of the Ballet of the Deutsche Staatsoper Berlin and acclaimed international guest artist, now the Director of Dance Studies and faculty member for classical male dance of the Zurich Dance Academy in Switzerland; Melanie Person, co-Director of the Ailey School in New York and Ernst Meisner, Artistic Director of the junior company of the esteemed Dutch National Ballet in The Netherlands. Hae Shik Kim was the panel Chair.
Male and female participants are judged separately in both the classical and contemporary divisions and the 2014 winners are as follows (the Judges decided not to award certain medals):
Senior Classical Girls
Gold: R25 000: Ga Yeon Jung, 21, South Korea
Silver: R15 000: no medal awarded
Bronze: R10 000: no medal awarded
Senior Contemporary - Girls
R15 000: no medal awarded
Senior Classical – Boys
Gold: R25 000: Ramiro Samon, 20, from Cuba
Silver: R15 000: Javier Monier, 21, from Cuba
Bronze: R10 000: no medal awarded
Senior Contemporary - Boys
R15 000: Mthuthuzeli November, 20, South Africa (Cape Town)
Junior Classical – Girls
Gold: R20 000: Yuanyuan Zhang, 19, China
Silver: R12 500: Lou Spichtig, 16, Switzerland
Bronze: R7 500: Gabrielle Chock, 16, USA
Junior Contemporary – Girls
R10 000: Yuanyuan Zhang, 19, China
Junior Classical – Boys
Gold: R20 000: Rafael Quenedit Castro, 17, Cuba
Silver: R12 500: Byul Yun, 19, South Korea
Bronze: R7 500: Francois Llorente Nunez, 18, Cuba
Junior Contemporary – Boys
R10 000: Byul Yun, 19, South Korea
Scholar Classical – Girls
Gold: R7 500: Yu Hang, 14, China
Silver: R5 000: Seung Yeon Yang, 15, South Korea
Bronze: R2 500: Julia Conway, 14, USA and Fu Yi Yang, 13, China
Scholar Contemporary – Girls
R5 000 : Yu Hang, 14, China
Scholar Classical – Boys
Gold: R7 500: Xu Jing Kun, 13, China
Silver: R5 000: Leroy Mokgatle, 14, South Africa (Johannesburg)
Bronze: R2 500: No medal awarded
Scholar Contemporary – Boys
R5 000: Leroy Mokgatle, 14, South Africa (Johannesburg)
Alvin Ailey School scholarships
Mthuthuzeli November and Khanya Mandongana
To bring the evening to a spectacular close, all 69 entrants that had participated in the competition from the first day, delivered an exuberant group performance choreographed by Angela Malan, a fitting finale for South Africa’s very own ‘summer ballet olympics’. Guest companies and artists included Joburg Ballet, Cape Dance Company and the Eoan Group.
Today, Sunday 4 March at 3pm and 7:30pm, Dirk Badenhorst presents the Young Ballet Stars of the World Gala performances showcasing the SAIBC 2014 Winners and guest artists from SA, Cuba and South Korea. The competition Winners will also perform in Johannesburg in a gala performance entitled the Young Ballet Stars of the World, presented by Dirk Badenhorst, at the Lyric Theatre at Gold Reef City on 25 and 26 February at 8pm. Tickets are available from Computicket or 08619158000 or via Artscape on 0214217695.
The South African International Ballet Competition is headed up by Dirk Badenhorst and takes place every two years. It is acknowledged as one of the most high profile events on the country’s dance and cultural calendar and the next event in 2016 is highly anticipated.
Press release provided by Allison Foat.