Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Helsinki International Ballet Competition + a surprise

Today was the first day of the first round. Of what? Well, this: HIBC! :) Bought meself tickets for the first round (3 days), because I wanted most to see the classical variations. And all the competitors! Based on just this evening, it was worth the euros spent.

But FIRST something Else.

I've mentioned my first ballet teacher here couple of times. We spent about 10 years "together" and though I wasn't the most eager/motivated/flexible pupil, she always seemed to have the patience and encouragement for me too. Also I've been wondering how she's been all these years. Just counted that the last time I met her was my last ballet recital in May -96 or -97 (I really can't remember, probably -96). So, it was Some years ago... And today, as me and a friend with her daugher waited for the competition to start, in the foyer, I spotted something very familiar in a table bit further. Arja and her husband (you'll guess which of the teachers) sat there with 2 friends. I hesitated if I could go and greet her, but then made the decision. It would probably happen never again, the chance to say hello I mean, so I went. Cautiously said pardon & hello and then, you know what: she knew right away who I was!!!!! :))))))))))))))

I can't tell you how happy I am. She asked if I'm a musician now, said that she could tell it back then... :) In the short conversation I told her that I've taken ballet classes for 2 years now and how wonderful it is! She asked where - and just before I left, she asked (smiling) that hopefully I didn't get any awful traumas as a kid/teen. Assured her that it was the other way round for me. I'm hoping she'll be there tomorrow and Thursday, but this really was the best surprise one could get.

Back to the day's event.

Today there were 10 juniors and 11 senior dancers, from 10 countries. More coming during the next 2 days. To put it short, I had 2 favorites over everyone.

Francesco Frola Gabriele (-92) from Italy
Danced a variation from Don Quixote and Swan Lake. Both just pure brilliance. High jumps, perfect pirouettes. He could easily compete in the senior group. I'll be very disappointed if he doesn't make to second round.

Candice Adea (-86) from Philippines
Danced a pas de deux from Don Quixote. The pair had a breathtaking lift & balance high up there quite in the beginning, woooooooooow... She was the stronger of them two. Precise and clean, strong pirouettes, jumps, everything. Really waiting for her to make it further, too!

Both my favorites also had the charisma, charm, elegance, stage presence... I'm sure they were a bit nervous too, excited, but it gave them probably just the extra kick.

Beautiful costumes were seen also. One of my favorites was the very first. Obengül Polen Gezmis (-93) from Turkey had the honor to open the competition. She made it with style and aplomb, variation was from Esméralda. Don't have a photo of it of course, but if I'll find it somewhere, I'll share the link! :) It was so nice... Also there were 2 really cute/lovely bright pink tutus, the other one with some white in the mix and the other with golden details.

All in all, there were lots of confident performances. Two dancers fell, but not too badly. And they both saved the situation quite nicely. One or two stumbled a bit in the end/middle, but nothing enormous there either. Only one contestant left me cold, but that's quite little.

Maria Baranova, the winner of Juniors in 2009 (photo by Sakari Viika). She's on stage tomorrow, as a senior!


  1. Absolutely fantastic, You are so lucky to get to all of these events, I want to move to Finland :-)

    1. This is a special year (the 90th anniversary etc.), I'm veryvery happy to be living it! :) And of course our whole country is (almost) always awesome... :D