Feedback
Email Address Invalid. Please enter an email address in the format: [email protected]
Ballet Competition Rules & Regulations

Overview

Ballet, being an art form, does not include a great deal of competition. However, there are about ten major competitive events in which ballet dancers may compete. The prize in these events is a combination of cash, prestige, and—for the top dancers—a contract with a major ballet company. Competitions are geared toward either pre-professional or professional ballet dancers and accept only the best of the best.

The rules and regulations differ between competitions, but all offer the participating dancers exposure and performance experience to help them on their way to becoming professionals.

Youth America Grand Prix

Eligibility and Age Requirements

The Youth America Grand Prix is open to ballet dancers from all countries, ages 9-19 (based on your age as of January of the year of the competition). Dancers age 9-11 are placed in the Pre-Competitive Division, ages 12-14 in the Junior Division, and ages 15-19 in the Senior Division.

Dancers in the Junior and Senior divisions may participate in the Classical Variation competition, Contemporary Solo competition, or both, while Pre-Competitive dancers may compete with either a skill-appropriate classical choreography variation and/or Contemporary Solos. Junior and Senior Division dancers competing in the Classical Variation category must dance a variation from the official repertoire list. Dancers may enter as a soloist, part of an ensemble, half of a duet, or all of the above.

The competition is not open to any professional dancers, defined as a dancer working full time with a professional company or under contract at least 26 weeks a year, or a dancer who has done so in the past. Dancers must be selected from either regional semi-finals or a video audition in order to be eligible for the finals in New York City.

Judging and Awards

Dancers are scored by judges on a 100-point scale for both artistic and technical abilities. The average of the two scores is taken for each judge. In order to qualify for the New York City finals, a dancer or ensembles must have received a score of 95 or higher on their Classical Ballet Variation. Judges may use their discretion to invite additional dancers and ensembles to the finals.

At the finals, judges will award a Grand Prix and Youth Grand Prix to the dancer considered to have exceeded all other dancers competing in the Senior and Junior divisions, respectively. The Hope Award is given to the dancer best exceeding standards in the Pre-Competitive Division. Awards are only given when judges consider them earned, and judges additionally reserve the right to not award all prizes in a given year.

New York International Ballet Competition

Eligibility and Age Requirements

The New York International Ballet Competition is open to both professional and non-professional dancers of all nationalities. Women must be between 17-23 years of age and men must be between 18-24 years of age at the time of competition. Applicants are selected to compete based on written applications, videos, and photographs.

All dancers must apply with a partner who is also competing. Dancers selected will perform and compete exclusively with that partner.

Judging and Awards

At the beginning of the competition, NY IBC coaches will teach three classical pas de deux to paired participants, but who will then be judged individually. Each dancer must also prepare two professionally choreographed solos, no longer than two and a half minutes. They can be of either classical or contemporary influence.

The NY IBC will make selections in three stages, eliminating dancers until the third and final round of competition. If a dancer’s partner is still eligible to compete, they must stay and continue to dance with them. Eliminated dancers may stay to watch the rest of the competition.

At the end of the competition, the men and women who have performed thebest according to the judges will be awarded one of five awards: The Gussie and Samuel Arbuse Gold Medal, Silver Medal, Bronze Medal, or Lefkowitz Award. Two special awards also given at the discretion of the judges: The Igor Youskevitch Award (a one-year contract with the American Ballet Theatre) and the Arpino Award (a one-year contract with the Joffrey Ballet).

Judges’ decisions are final and may not be appealed.

International Ballet Competition – Varna

Eligibility and Age Requirements

The International Ballet Competition at Varna (known more frequently simply as “Varna”, the host city in Bulgaria) is open to dancers of all nationalities and genders, aged 15-26 at the time of competition. Dancers age 15-19 are in the Junior Division; dancers age 19-26 in the Senior Division. Dancers may compete as a couple or solo. Couples may be from different age groups.

Judging and Awards

The competition is held in three rounds. The first round consists of only classical choreography. Competitors selected to move on to the second round will perform both classical and contemporary choreography, and those moving to the third and final round will again perform both classical and contemporary pieces.

Judges score on a 25.00 scale. Competitors with the highest score in the first round will move on to the second round, but must have a score of no less than 18.00 points. Competitors with the highest scores in the second round will move on to the final round, but must have a score no lower than 19.00 points. Couples must perform complete pas de deux for the classical portion, containing an adagio, variations, and coda. The conventional versions of classical choreography must be presented in all rounds.

Following the third round, prizes will be awarded at the judges’ discretion. These prizes include the title of the International Ballet Competition at Varna Laureate, the Varna Grande Prix, and first, second, and third prize each in women, men, girls, and boys categories, respectively. Additional awards may be presented on the basis of choreography and/or other outstanding achievements.

Prix de Lausanne

Eligibility and Age Requirements

Held annually in Switzerland, the Prix de Lausanne is open to all non-professional dancers aged 15-18. Dancers can apply with an audition DVD containing 15-20 minutes of barre and center work in a studio environment. Dancers—usually 110-130 in total—are then selected to compete based on their film.

Judging and Awards

To pass the second selection phase, the chosen dancers must perform ballet and modern classes on stage. Dancers then proceed to a final round that includes both classical and contemporary variation and a free variation of their choice.

Throughout the competition, participants are judged by a jury based on overall potential, an evaluation of their artistry, physical suitability, courage and individuality, musicality, movement dynamics, and overall technical facility and coordination.

At the end of the final round, up to six dancers are selected as Prix de Lausanne winners and given the Prix de Lausanne Scholarship, Prix de Lausanne Apprentice Scholarship, Contemporary Dance Prize, and Best Swiss Candidate Prize. Consolation prizes of cash, diplomas, medals, and free summer courses are awarded to all finalists.

World Ballet Competition

Eligibility and Age Requirements

The WBC is held annually in Orlando, Florida, and is open to competitors of all levels (introductory to professional) aged 10-22. Dancer(s) must apply by sending a video audition prior to acceptance in the WBC.

Following acceptance, dancers are divided into four age categories: Introductory (age 10-11), Preparatory (age 12-13), Pre-Professional (age 14-17) and Professional (age 18-22). Additionally, Pas de Deux and Ensembles are separated into their own categories.

Judging and Awards

Judging is based on technical and artistic merit (scored separately), with the highest and lowest scores dropped and the remaining five averaged for a final score. Introductory, Pas de Deux, and Ensemble competitors are subject to only one elimination round, in which the highest scoring competitors move to the finals. Preparatory competitors have two elimination rounds, while Pre-Professional and Professional competitors go through three.

Following the final round, prizes are awarded in all competition categories to the dancers with the highest scores. Additionally, a choreography award is given to the choreographer who has presented the best original contemporary piece, as deemed by the jury.

USA International Ballet Competition (Jackson, Mississippi)

Eligibility and Age Requirements

The USA IBC is held annually in Jackson, Mississippi, and open to all dancers age 15-26. Applicants must apply through a written application and an audition DVD containing two variations for solo competitors and one pas de deux for coupled competitors.

Judging and Awards

The competition is divided into three rounds:

The first round requires two solo classical variations for individuals or one classical pas de deux for couples, all of which must be selected from the classical repertoire list. Competitors receiving high scores move on to the second, semi-final round where they must perform either one contemporary solo or duet. From there, the highest scoring dancers move to the third and final round to perform two classical variations and one contemporary variation. Couples must perform one classical pas de deux and one contemporary duet.

Following the third round of competition, the highest scoring dancers are awarded prizes based on their performance: Gold, silver, and bronze are awarded separately to the best men, women, and couples in the Senior Division and Junior Division, respectively. Awards are also given for choreography and various other merits.

Genee Ballet Competition

Eligibility and Age Requirements

Held annually, the Genee Ballet Competition is for pre-professional dancers between ages of 15-19 who are members of the Royal Academy of Dance. Dancers must have also passed the RAD Advanced 2 Examination in Classical Ballet with Distinction or have been awarded the RAD Solo Seal.

Judging and Awards

The competition consists of a semi-final and final round during which dancers must perform classical variations. Those dancers exhibiting exceptional skill in the final round are awarded first, second, and third prize at the awards ceremony. Additionally, awards are given based on other merits such as Theatricality (artistry) and Audience Choice.

Arabesque Competition

Eligibility and Age Requirements

The Arabesque Competition is held annually in Perm, Russia. It’s open to all dancers age 14-26. Applicants must first send in an application form, a black and white photograph, a ballet photograph, a resumé, and a certificate of dance education and/or private dance classes.

Judging and Awards

Following acceptance, competitors are divided into soloist (male and female) and couples categories.

The competition is held in three rounds. Round one requires individuals to perform two variations and couples to perform one pas de deux. The highest scoring dancers move on to the second round, where individuals must perform two classical variations and a modern piece, while couples perform one pas de deux and one contemporary duet. The highest scoring dancers move to the finals. Soloists will then complete two classical variations; couples perform one classical pas de deux.

The highest scoring dancers as judged by a jury receive awards: The Sergei Diaghilev Award (Grand Prix), first prize (one for men, one for women), second prize (one for men, one for women), third prizes (one for men, one for women), and a variety of other awards based on various artistic and technical merits.

Moscow International Ballet Competition

Eligibility and Age Requirements

The Moscow IBC is open to all dancers age 26 and younger. Applicants must submit a resumé, application, three photographs, a proposed program for the three rounds of competition, and an audition video containing one of the proposed variations or pas de deux.

Dancers are divided into two divisions based on age: Junior Division (age 18 and younger) and Senior Division (age 18-26).

Judging and Awards

The competition consists of three rounds, with the highest scoring dancers (as deemed by the jury) moving on to the final round. Dancers are judged on an individual basis, regardless of whether they’re completing as an individual or a couple.

Following the third and final round of competition, dancers demonstrating extraordinary ability (as deemed by the judges) are awarded first, second, and third place prizes based on their gender and competition division. Additional prizes based on merit are presented as well.

Ballet is not often a competitive sport, but there are about ten major competitive events for ballet dancers. Learn the regulations for each event here.
Comments So Far: 1
Ballet Glossary
Check out this Ballet glossary to find the sport-specific...
History of Ballet
The evolution of ballet, from its beginnings in Renaissance...
close X