Yesterday was as interesting as Tuesday. In my opinion, the boys were a bit better in general. But some girls were so mature and ready for stage that they have to be mentioned! And this time I had a pen, made notes like crazy :D Wrote something about everyone, every performance/variation, but will share my favorites here.
Ryo Shimizu (-93), Japan
Variation was James from La Sylphide. And you know what? This boy knew his stuff. The JUMPS, oh my... Everything was in place, prepairing moves, the actual move, endings/landings. On top of it all, he danced through the music, continuity of the movement was there, all the time.
...and luckily we got to see another variation from him (Le Corsaire). Same quality there. And he's a junior! This guy could win the whole thing.
Maria Baranova (-92), Finland
She won the junior division last time (3 years ago) and is a strong candidate this time also. So can you imagine what a huge pressure that puts on a dancer? It's not easy to be her, I think. As the seniors got to choose between pas de deux or 2 separate variations, Maria.B. performed a pdd from Giselle. Interesting choice, as it isn't maybe the most obvious competition piece. Her partner in crime was Nicol Edmonds, whose lines (body and movement) were very beautiful. I was maybe waiting for a bit flashier jumps, but he's not competing, so that's that. Maria on the other hand was basically everything I expected - the depth of the role (especially in 2nd act) isn't easiest to achieve. I felt like watching a real ballet performance, not "just" a competition bit. Give her couple of years more life experience and what a star we'll have... :)
I'm sure she'll be seen in rounds 2 and 3, hopefully doing some explosive kind of variations. I'd love to go and see all the rounds, but today (Thursday) is sadly the end for me. But: Maria is a principal at our National Ballet, so I'll see her there ;)
Yun Wang (-88), China
The first thing I noticed was her tutu - long sleeves! White lace all over. So beautiful. Her programme was a pdd from the Nutcracker (partners name wasn't in the leaflet, sorry). But they were as good as Maria & Nicol, it felt again like watching the real deal. No competition nervousness seen here. My notes were quite short: "Beautiful and strong/firm dancing. Lovely tutu! Jorma's Bravo!" The last line means that our fabulous dance professor Jorma Uotinen shouted very spontaneously bravo after Yun's solo variation. Then huuuuge applause from the rest of the audience.
Some other notes:
Giovanna Lamboglia (-94, Brazil) was twirling like mad - she knows how to do pirouettes. Seriously.
Alys Shee (-94, Canada) was also confident in her turns and balances.
We saw Many Aurora's yesterday, Yukiko Yanagi (-92, Japan) was my favorite. Grace and elegance.
Anna Bolotashvili (-91, Ukraine) had very nice double pique turns in the end of her Kitri!
Today will be surely as interesting as the previous 2 days. It's funny to notice every once in a while that I'm tensing my back and leg muscles when watching. So sitting in the audience is a workout, too. And it's been wonderful to sense the positive mood of us spectators. Every contestant is given equal mental support, they are encouraged. And from the photos I've seen in fb (HIBC's own page), the young dancers are feeling it. They smile and even seem relaxed.
Toi toi toi!