Young, Driven and Pirouetting: Singapore to Hold Its First International Ballet Grand Prix

Letty Seah

The competitors of Singapore’s first ever international ballet competition, the International Ballet Grand Prix Singapore (IBGPS) Competition, might be small in stature, but they are large in passion and talent.

Organised by the non-profit organisation Singapore Dance Alliance and supported by the National Arts Council (NAC) and the Singapore Dance Theatre (SDT), the annual event aims to provide a space for young ballet dancers to thrive and grow. 

Some 130 dancers aged between seven to 18 , of all nationalities and skill levels, will perform in front of some of the world’s most renowned ballet masters such as Garry Trinder, Director of the New Zealand School of Dance, Joanne Michel, Ballet Mistress and Level 8 Classical Teacher of The Australian Ballet School and Robert Parker, Artistic Director of Elmhurst Ballet School.

The winners of this competition will be awarded prestigious scholarships from different schools, including  Australian Ballet School, National Theatre Ballet School and the Elmhurst Ballet School.

Unlike most ballet competitions that are held in Singapore, the IBGPS competition uses an international-based judging system where the participants are not only graded when they are on stage, but also when they are in a required technical class.

The IBGPS competition runs in Victoria Street from June 14 to 16. The technique class will be held at the Singapore Dance Theatre while the semi-finals and finals will take place at the Drama Centre Theatre in the National Library Building.

As a launchpad for young ballet dancers, there will also be a workshop that will also be open to dancers not taking part in the competition so they can learn from renowned guest teachers. Instructors who will be attending the workshop include principal dancer at the Singapore Dance Theater, Chihiro Uchida,  Artistic Director of the National Theatre Ballet School in Australia, Damian Smith and Artistic Director of the Singapore Dance Theatre, Janek Schergen. 

There will be two workshops (ballet and contemporary) conducted each day. Held on 12 and 13 June 2019, these workshops provide an excellent platform for dancers to gain valuable exposure while expanding their knowledge about dance at the same time.

In addition to the competition and the workshop, there will also be conferences to help dancers get to the next level of their career. 

Covering a range of topics on dance education and dance as a career, this conference aims to connects students and their parents with leaders within these fields, providing them and the public with useful information, greater depth of understanding and an insider’s perspective on the dance industry. It will be held between 12 and 13 June 2019.

Singapore Dance Theatre’s artistic director Janek Schergen says that these workshops and conferences will provide a platform for students from different schools to interact. They will also help dancers and their parents to learn more about how they might choose a vocational school and pursue a dance career.

When asked about the ballet scene in Singapore, Schergen shared that more can be done: “Dedicated programmes for 11 to 13-year-old dancers don’t exist in Singapore. In the rest of the world, the training for dancers at the pre-professional level is more rigorous. This is lacking in national schools. He believes that through the IBGPS, these gaps can be filled.

Register and get more information here. 

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