May 30, 2012

HIBC: Candice Can!

I have never been this excited about any ballet competition before! As a volunteer you get to know the competitors a little, and you do get emotionally involved. As a dancer, albeit recreational, you also know about the hard work, and aches - and about the excitement of being on stage, the euphoria and exhileration! At worst ballet can be a pain, but first and foremost it's bliss. To see all the performances I'm skipping my own classes, which is quite unheard of (ask anyone), but this is special circumstances. Anyway, after our spring show I can actually use the break. My left toe starts to complain if I just look at my pointe shoes! I wonder how the HIBC dancers are coping..

First impression of Tuesday's first round: the girls are the belles of the ball, but the men are the rock stars of ballet! If the seats had been filled with young boys instead of the usual crowd, I can tell you there would have been more than a few converts to ballet! Crazy jumps, double cabrioles, mutiple turns en l'air, double split jumps (don't know the name of that one), sixtuplet pirouettes, you name it. Variations from Don Quixote and Corsaire were favored by both junior and senior male dancers, and it's easy to understand why. They are real crowd-pleasers. Especially the non-competing Ivan Zaytsev made most of his stage time in Le Corsaire's pas de deux. He was a secure partner to the technically excellent Yulia Tikka (both from Russia), and entertained the audience with his wicked and boisterous charm. Think Johnny Depp and Pirates of the Carribbean.. ;) The junior dancer Rodrigo Almarales from Cuba was another force on the stage. Fierce and fearless, you gotta love that!

Fierce was also my personal favorite of the day, Candice Adea from the Philppines. Her portrayal of Kitri was sublime, both sensuously elegant and suprimely secure. You don't see this often, technical bravura together with heartfelt artistic expression. Adea has it all, a warm and winning smile, excellent taste and real quality in her dancing. Throw in some fearless pirouettes, the kind where her partner pushes her off to turn like a spinning top, and that famous high one-arm lift - Wow!

Candice Adea with Jean Marc Cordero.
Photo courtesy of HIBC. Photographer: Sakari Viika.

I was also happy to see familiar faces doing well. Machi Muto from Japan (I picked her up from the airport) was lovely in both her Coppélia and Don Quixote variations, and Candy Tong (we were in the same ballet class last Friday) performed secure high extensions in her Queen of the Dryads varition. Mirella Costa Neto (Brazil) was a very energetic Esméralda, and a flamboyant Kitri. I would also like to give her credit for the prettiest costumes! Finlands 15-year old Sara Antikainen was a pleasure to watch, especially in the second round. Sixteen year old Katia Almayeva (Russia) has the highest arabesques I've ever seen, really very impressive. And she can turn! Francesco Frola Gabriele (Italy) was another of the male highlights, his Sigmund variation from Swan Lake ready for the big stage.

Oops, it's already ten to six - I have to run! More variations to see, blog you later!

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