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A grand time for ballet hopefuls

Time:2022-03-22 10:43:00 Source: China Daily China Youth International

Teenage dancers perform at the Tianqiao Theater in Beijing on March 14, during a news conference to announce the launch of the First Ailian Youth Grand Prix.

New youth competition will showcase domestic as well as foreign talent as art form enjoys growing appeal, Chen Nan reports.

The 6-year-old girl danced in her white tutu, before trying the difficult en pointe. This French dance term describes ballet artists carrying their weight and dancing on their toes. Despite her grace and bravery, she failed in her attempt but she won the hearts of the watching audience who burst out in applause. Their members included Feng Ying, president of the National Ballet of China.

"I see great potential in the little girl. She will become a ballerina one day," says Feng.

She was not the only one to impress Feng. A 14-year-old dancer, wearing Chinese folk costume, combined ballet with a tea-picking routine, a folk dance portraying the workers harvesting the crop.

With the child dancers at Tianqiao Theater in Beijing on March 14, Feng announced that the First Ailian Youth Grand Prix had been launched.

"We want to recognize the talent and efforts of young dancers, who are learning ballet. It has been our longtime wish to hold such a competition," says Feng, who will serve as the director of the committee of the First Ailian Youth Grand Prix and will be the chairperson of the competition jury.

Open to young ballet dancers from around the world, the competition will be held online, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, with participants uploading their videos.

The preliminary contest will be held from June 10-15 and the final contest will be held from June 25 to July 10. A ceremony and gala, showcasing award-winning dancers, is scheduled to be held in Beijing from July 30-31.

According to Zou Zhirui, the secretary-general of the First Ailian Youth Grand Prix, a former ballerina and current professor of Beijing Dance Academy, the competition will be divided into categories for both professional and amateur participants, from ages 4 to 18.For the professional group, dancers can upload performances as soloists or in a pas de deux. For amateurs, they can compete as soloists, in a pas de deux or as a dance group.

Besides Feng and Zou, the jury members will also include distinguished judges, including Frank Andersen, veteran choreographer and former principal dancer at the Royal Danish Ballet, Nina Ananiashvili, who is the prima ballerina and the director of the State Ballet of Georgia, and Mikko Nissinen, the artistic director of Boston Ballet and Boston Ballet School.

"Besides displaying their talent, we also hope that young people can work together and inspire one another," adds Feng. "It's a great opportunity for us to see new talent, and they will be offered the chance to work with dancers of the National Ballet of China."

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