The New York International Ballet Competition (NYIBC), was a program providing dance education and employment opportunities for young dancers ages 17 to 24. In 1983 Ilona Copen founded NYIBC, with Igor Youskevitch as first artistic director, in order to fill a void and satisfy a need in the global dance ecosystem. Other international ballet competitions existed, but New York City, considered a dance capital of the world, did not have its own.
NYIBC’s mission was to discover the world’s finest young ballet dancers, provide them with an extraordinary educational, mentoring and cultural experience, advance their careers by producing performances in New York City, and promote international understanding and goodwill.
NYIBC’s unique format in the ballet world provided its participants with a fair level playing field, and distinguished it from all other ballet competitions. For the three-week intensive program of dance education and professional training, all 48 dancers from around the world received full scholarships to participate. The dancers learned the same choreographic version of the pas de deux and contemporary duet chosen for each progressive round. Prior to arriving to New York City, none of the dancers knew the choice of repertoire, thus increasing the fairness of the competition. The only previously planned choreography was the individual solo, performed during the second round. The tone of the three-week-long competition, therefore, was much more similar to that of a professional company than a competition. The dancers came together from across the world and learned previously unknown choreography together. At the end, the performance rounds and gala took place over the course of five days, in the Rose Theater at Jazz at Lincoln Center.
The New York International Ballet Competition (NYIBC) www.nyibc.org