NYU Skirball held a dazzling gala performance hosted by the New York
International Ballet Competition in honor of the organization's founder,
Ilona Copen, who passed away last year. Known for combining classical
ballet with modern dance, the NYIBC put together a dynamic repertoire
featuring leading dancers of companies including the American Ballet
Theatre, Joffrey Ballet and Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater.
Supporters of Copen, students and ballet lovers filled the theater, many excited in anticipation of the show
absolutely love ballet," Johann Sckar, 37, said before the performance.
"I can't wait for the gorgeousness of the dancers to hit me!"
performances included duets and solos featuring renowned dancers and
finalists of past competitions, including José Manuel Carreño, Victoria
Jaiani and Junio Teixeira. The juxtaposition of grace and raw power of
the classical ballerinas in pieces like "Dying Swan" and the energy of
the modern dancer in "A Song for You" brought shouts of "Bravo!" and
standing ovations from audience members. Throughout the pieces, many
spectators couldn't contain their sighs of awe.
NYIBC artistic board member Susan Janetta voiced her pride and admiration of Copen.
was Ilona's baby," Janetta said. "And seeing such different companies
coming together to dance in her honor is truly wonderful."
sophomore Mara Driscoll, a ballet dancer herself, was thoroughly
impressed. "It was absolutely amazing seeing some of the biggest stars
tonight," she said. "The talent all-around was beautiful."
further tribute to Copen, the NYIBC introduced the recipients of their
first annual Ilona Copen Award. Jean-Pierre Bonnefoux and Patricia
McBride, both distinguished dancers, were given the award.
Jennifer Cosen, 17, has been dancing for the past 6 years. This was her fourth time at an NYIBC performance.
still in shock," she said. "Whenever I come to NYIBC's events, I always
go home believing I can do this. I can fly like they do. It sounds
corny, but I dream of being like these dancers. They're my inspiration."
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