Press release: SA International Ballet Competition (SAIBC) welcomes international judges & competitors to Artscape – first time in 2 years

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The forthcoming South African International Ballet Competition (SAIBC), supported by The City of Cape Town and the Western Cape Government Department of Cultural Affairs and Sport, is delighted to be able to once again welcome capacity audiences and international judges and competitors in person to the beautiful Artscape Opera House from 25 to 30 July 2022. Entrants unable to participate at the theatre will compete via video, classifying the 9th SAIBC a hybrid event. The deadline for entries has been extended to 15 July 2022.  

Two years of challenging Covid 19 restrictions saw the competition run solely online in 2020 and as a hybrid event in 2021, when only South African dancers competed at Artscape before a live audience. Now, with the easing of mask mandates, lockdown restrictions and travel protocols, several  entrants will be flying in from countries such as Cuba, Eswatini and Russia. Aside from South Africa, other participating nations include Mongolia, China, Australia, USA, Switzerland, Germany, New Zealand, Latvia, Malaysia, Philippines and Nigeria.

Equally exciting is the fact that the entire panel of judges will be present in the Artscape auditorium to adjudicate the proceedings. The SAIBC, launched in 2008 by Founder and CEO Dirk Badenhorst is lauded as the most prestigious international ballet competition in Africa. Badenhorst recently announced the distinguished panel of judges for 2022, seven individuals drawn from some of the world's finest dance training institutions, academia and professional ballet companies. They are 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; 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 (Brazill / SA), Senior Soloist of Joburg Ballet & founder of the digital platform @blacksinballet. The SAIBC has also partnered with @blacksinballet to sponsor one black dancer from anywhere in the world-travel expenses included- to compete in  person in this year's competition.

Dancers whose applications are successful, can choose to compete via video submission or in person. Prizes include summer intensives, internships and scholarships at the finest dance facilities around the world and in South Africa. In a new development, Mr Badenhorst has been opened up to groups -  duets, trios, quartets, as well as small and large groups - where entrants will compete in the age group of the oldest competitor. The other categories are Novices age 6 to 8 (entrants from Africa only), Scholars age 9 to 11, Juniors age 12 to 15 and Seniors age 16 to 19. Candidates who are accepted into the SAIBC 2022 will be notified by email and only then will they be able to proceed with their entry forms. 

Aside from the invaluable support of the City of Cape Town, the Western Cape Government's Department of Cultural Affairs, the SAIBC is grateful to the Mary Oppenheimer and Daughter Foundation, The Rockefeller Hotel & Residences (Newmark Hotels & Reserves) and other Donors. 

Cape Town Mayor, Geordin Hill-Lewis, said, "It is a testament to Cape Town's place on the world stage as a home for the creative, and especially the performative arts, that the South African International Ballet Competition is being hosted in our beautiful city. As a frequent theatregoer myself I am delighted to see the art of Ballet being elevated in Cape Town, this is particularly important for the younger generation to ensure the continued sustainability of Ballet, both as a pastime and as a profession. Good luck to all contestants, and to those participating in person, please enjoy our city." 

Badenhorst is a passionate dance diplomat who is also the Director of the Johannesburg-based Mzansi Ballet based. He has strong ties to the international ballet community. He has long championed the art form of ballet and through numerous projects has generated multiple opportunities for South African dancers and teachers to gain further experience both locally and abroad. "Through the SAIBC and other initiatives, we continuously identify young talent and shine a spotlight on dancer potential across the African continent." It has long been his mission to liaise with excellent dance schools in other countries and assist African dancers with introductions into the international arena. "The SAIBC has always been a conduit for diplomacy and a means to connect dancers, teachers and coaches as much as possible," he said.  Under the auspices of the South African International Ballet Competition, he also established CuDanSA (the Cuban ballet training method in SA), has hosted international ballet events, workshops and an international Ballet-A-Thon held on International Dance Day earlier this year. Importantly too, he has introduced training programmes in under-resourced communities and townships around the country.

The competition week is broken down into nightly elimination rounds, from Tuesday 26 July to Friday 29 July at 5pm and on Saturday 30 July at 12pm. Registration day for approved candidates is Monday 25 July 2002 at Artscape. The awards and closing gala event is on Saturday 30 July at 7pm and will feature the winners and guest artists, to be announced. 

The hybrid SAIBC 2022 is open to the public. Artscape is now allowing a capacity audience and with all the excitement surrounding this news, advance booking is highly recommended.  Tickets cost from R135 to R285 through Computicket and Artscape Dial-A-Seat on 0214217695, and can also be purchased through the free ArtOfLife app, available for download in the Google Playstore and in the App Store. ends 


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