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WBC OPEN Delivers $3,000 Cash Prize & Extraordinary Gala

On Sunday, March 23, 2014 the third edition of the World Ballet Competition - Open Romania ended in Sibiu, Romania which brought together seventy competitors; dancers from Romania, Japan, Israel, United States, South Korea, Spain, Lithuania, Bulgaria, Serbia and Cyprus. Perhaps the most popular competitor, Irina Geogiana Tarău of Romania, won the Gold medal in the Introductory Category, with a variation from the ballet "Satanella" choreography Marius Petipa, music, Cesare Pugni.


Irina Georgiana Tarau performs Variation from Satanella. Photo by Ovidiu Matiu

Irina, age 12, qualified for the 2014 World Ballet Competition USA Finals in Orlando, Florida and received a cash prize of $850 US Dollars. She was awarded the only gold medal in the competition.

During the three days of competition rounds from March 20-22, competitors between the ages of eight and twenty-six showed the jury dances in classical ballet, contemporary dance, ballet neoclassical choreography, jazz and modern dance. The Award Ceremony was held on Sunday, March 23 followed by the closing gala event marked by phenomenal dancers who came from the finest dance companies in Romania, Europe and the USA.

Darius Gramada performs at the WBC OPEN Romania. Photo by Ovidiu Matiu

The WBC OPEN Excellence Award and its grand prize of $ 3,000 US Dollars was divided among Irina Georgiana Tarau and the following three competitors:

- Darius Gramada (Romania) - competed in the Introductory Category and received the Silver medal of the category and a prize of $450 US Dollars.

- Haeyoung Bae (South Korea) was awarded the Silver medal in the Pre-Professional Category and won a cash prize of $850 US Dollars.

- Minyeong Kim (South Korea) received a cash prize of $850 US Dollars and was the Silver medalist in the Professional Category.

The four Excellence Award winners and seven other competitors were invited to the United States for the finals this year in Orlando, Florida.

Four Special Prizes were awarded: 

- Best Ballet School: Choreography School "Floria Capsali" Bucharest

- Best Contemporary Teacher: Doina Botiş

- Best Classical Ballet Teacher: Svetlana Zotina

- Teatrul De Balet Sibiu - Special Director's Choice Award for Choreography: "On the Edge" performed by Milda Luckute (Lithuania), Choreographer: Rikka Ihalainen

The jury of this year included: Elizabetta Hertel (Italy), Cosmin Mărculeţiu (USA), Milica Bijelic (Serbia), Sergiu Anghel (Romania), Egle Spokaite (Lithuania) Gwangok Yeom (Korea), Marina Stolyar (Russia) and Vasile Petrutiu (USA) - Founder and Director of the World Ballet Competition, Orlando, Florida, USA and Central Florida Ballet.

Featured international guest artists of the WBC OPEN's Gala of the Stars. Photo by Ovidiu Matiu

The highlight of the event was the sensational Gala of the Stars performance which ended with no less than 15 minutes of exuberant applause and curtain calls by the enthusiastic crowd. The performance featured dancers from some of the most famous theaters in Europe and the United States of America. Bianca Fota (Romania) - Principal Dancer at Bucharest National Opera; Dawid Trzensimiech (Poland) - Principal Dancer of Romanian National Ballet; Dinu Tamazlacaru (Republic of Moldova) - First Soloist of the Berlin State Ballet; Katherina Markowskaja (Ukraine) - Bavarian State Ballet, Hannah Bettes (USA) - Royal Ballet School of London; Adiarys Almeida (Cuba) - International guest artist, former First Boston Ballet Theatre soloist, Joseph Michael Gatti (USA) - International guest artist, former first soloist at the Boston Ballet Theater, and from Teatrul de Balet Sibiu: Mircea Munteanu (Romania), Stefan Mester (Romania), and Ada Gonzalez (Spain).

Hannah Bettes and Mircea Munteanu performing Pas de Deux from Le Corsaire. Photo by Ovidiu Matiu

Sunday's gala program was structured in two parts: the first part, featured winners and selected participants of this year's competition, and the second part showcased international guest stars. Many of the performers prompted immediate standing ovations including Dinu Tamazlacaru who performed an audience-loving and charismatic solo "Le Bourgeois" which quickly got the audience on their feet. Hannah Bettes showcased her superhuman flexibility and exquisite lines with a contemporary solo "Silent Night" followed by a pas de deux from Le Corsaire with Mircea Munteanu,. Bianca Fota and Dawid Trzensimiech made for a dynamic partnership in the pas de deux from Black Swan and later revealed intense chemistry and intriguing choreography in a contemporary duet "Radio Juliet". Adiarys Almeida and Joseph Gatti concluded the gala with a stunning Don Quixote pas de deux. From impeccable pirouettes and balances, the couple provided a spectacular conclusion delighting the audience.

Adiarys Almeida performing Pas de Deux from Don Quixote. Photo by Ovidiu Matiu

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The venue of the 2022 World Ballet Competition, Orange County Convention Center, is wheelchair accessible. For futher information on Assistance for Guests with disabilities, please click here.