/IBC crowd cheers 18 dancers from 8 countries to the top Mississippi Today

IBC crowd cheers 18 dancers from 8 countries to the top Mississippi Today

Yunting Qiu (China) and Sicong W (China) won the top awards. They also won the competition round’s senior women’s and senior men’s gold medals, each worth $12,000. The pair, both dancers in National Ballet of China’s, will also bring home two choreography awards ($3,000), which were presented by the jury to each of their outstanding contemporary pieces, “Sad Birds”, and “Permanent Yesterday.” Qiu spoke through Grace Chen, a translator. I never imagined getting the reward. “I was enjoying dancing on stage.” The news of the winners of choreography in China is still being awaited by many. Wu spoke through Chen that they were excited and happy to share the news with the Millsaps dorm. Strong crowd favorites, Soobin Lee and Sangmin Lee, Republic of Korea senior pairs (no relation), doubled their medal haul with silver medals ($7,000 each, plus the best couple award ($1,000). Through Ken Lee, a translator, Sangmin Lee stated that he was happy and honored to be there. The enthusiastic, vocal audience cheered on the competitors and they expressed their gratitude. That’s why they dance, he stated. “It’s such an amazing response, starting with the first round and continuing through to the final gala.” Home audiences are also crazy about them. These dancers’ attention to detail at “Don Quixote,” and other events, from flirty eye contact and flourishes of the fingers to flashy, flirty eyes, won them fans and enthusiasm. “We are always discussing what we can do with every moment to enrich the dances,” said Katherine Barkman, an American finalist and principal dancer at Ballet Manila in the Philippines. Joseph Phillips, who is well-known among Jackson ballet fans for his 2002 Junior Gold win here and other accomplishments, was her non-competing partner. She said, “It’s been such joy.” Sometimes competitions can be hard. This had its difficult moments, with Round I involving a 101-degree fever. I enjoyed every second of being onstage. Barkman stated that there’s a finality about it. She feels like we have accomplished something. But, it also feels like a beginning. “Something changed. “Something changed. I stopped dancing to please everyone. I began to dance because it makes my heart happy. And I just wanted that to be shared onstage with everyone, regardless of whether you were judge, an aspiring dancer or a mom, grandma, grandpa, or granddad.” Chisako Oga won the bronze senior women’s ($5,000) award. As the season was ending, she managed to fit in rehearsals with Cincinnati Ballet on her lunch break. She came to the theatre for the opportunity and stage time, as well as the chance to meet new people and experience a new environment. “Often, we take our jobs for granted, even though we do it for a living. Sometimes we forget how much it is that we love it. Being in a new environment like this helps to refresh that idea. The senior men’s bronze medal ($5,000) went to American David Shrenk. The gold medal in Jackson, which was the competition’s largest category for junior women, was won by Elisabeth Beyer from the United States. This is a bright follow-up to her 2017 Moscow IBC junior gold. Carolyne Galvao from Brazil was awarded the silver junior women’s medal ($4,000 each) and Julia Rust (U.S.). Two bronzes for junior women ($2,000 each) were also given by the Jurors to Rheya Shano and Tia Wenkman. Shano stated that the IBC is more than just competing. It’s not about winning gold medals — although that’s wonderful and more than I could have ever expected — but about learning and growing as an artist, and being able perform on stage,” Shano said. The jury did not award a junior men’s silver medal. Hyuma Kiyosawa, who earned $4,000 for his junior silver, was awarded the top prize in this age bracket. The Japanese dancer, who performed with incredible leaps and was full of personality, reached his goals and received a offer from Joffrey Ballet. He said that the experience was the most important thing he took away, as was his six-month preparation to the IBC. We build up to achieve these results. So yeah, I’m happy. He chuckled and said, “I won basically!” It was a great experience and a lot of fun. All IBC finalists are awarded a $1,500 cash award from the Peggy Mize Fund, administered by the Community Foundation of Mississippi, to defray travel expenses. Tonight’s Encore Gala will be held at Thalia Mara Hall and features live music by the Mississippi Symphony Orchestra. Tickets are still available for the 7:30 p.m. performance. Visit usaibc.tix.com, the IBC box office in Thalia Mara Hall or call 601-973-99249 to purchase tickets. View slideshow of photos from the Awards Gala and the final round competition (All photos by Richard Finkelstein).