Milwaukee Ballet’s International Competition Pushes Boundaries of Dance


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Three up-and-coming choreographers vie for the top spot at Genesis

MILWAUKEE – January 17, 2011 – As the audition tapes continue to pile up in his office, Milwaukee Ballet Artistic Director Michael Pink hopes there are at least three that will catch his eye. He’s looking for choreographers who are aren’t afraid to push the envelope; who are dedicated to creating inventive and ground-breaking pieces.

For Pink, holding an international choreographic competition is vital to his profession. “New work is the life-blood of dance,” Pink said. “Genesis provides the opportunity for three choreographers to work with world class dancers in a professional environment that fosters and nurtures creativity.”

Next month, three choreographers will get a unique opportunity to showcase their work during Milwaukee Ballet’s fourth international choreographic competition, Genesis: International Choreographic Competition, February 10-13. Held every other year, the competition demonstrates Milwaukee Ballet’s continued commitment to generating new and innovative works. While ballets internationally often follow the same model, Milwaukee Ballet is one of few companies in this country hosting a truly international competition.

The Process
will include three Milwaukee premieres choreographed by Lucas Jervies from Australia; Mauro de Candia from Italy; and Edgar Zendejas from Mexico. The winner receives $3,000 and is offered the chance to create an original piece for Milwaukee Ballet for the 2011-12 season. Second place receives $2,000; third place receives $1,000; and the audience favorite receives $500.

The three choreographers are handpicked by Artistic Director Michael Pink, who watches and critiques over 50 submissions from across the globe. This year, Pink received entries from Australia, Bulgaria, Canada, China, England, France, Hungary, India, Israel, Italy, Korea, Latvia, Norway, Philippines and the United States.

“I look for musicality and creativity in the steps; the original way in which the choreographer brings together music and dance,” Pink said.

Each choreographer is given a dance team of eight performers to create a 20-minute work. The dancers and choreographer will then have three weeks, a total of 90 rehearsal hours, to make their piece ready for the panel of judges and the audience. The panel of judges consists of renowned ballet artistic directors and executives

As in year’s past, this year’s competition takes place at Milwaukee’s Pabst Theater, providing audiences with a rare opportunity to get an up close experience with the Ballet’s dancers. In the ornate Baroque and Renaissance style of this intimate auditorium, audiences will discover the athleticism, strength and versatility of the dancers—every muscle and bead of sweat is distinguishable. Genesis provides an incomparable performance for experienced ballet-goers, and an accessible introduction to ballet for novices. Milwaukee Ballet also runs a voting process, allowing ballet goers to pick an audience favorite by the end of the show’s run.

Genesis: International Choreographic Competition runs February 10-13 at the Pabst Theater, 144 E. Wells Street, Milwaukee. Tickets to the performance range from $25-$89. To order tickets or for additional information, call (414) 902-2103. Genesis is sponsored by Briggs & Stratton, National Endowment for the Arts and GS Design.

About Milwaukee Ballet
Founded in 1970, Milwaukee Ballet strives to inspire its audiences to think within and beyond traditional ballet through the presentation of quality performances and the implementation of educational opportunities. Milwaukee Ballet and Milwaukee Ballet School are recognized among the top companies in the nation. Milwaukee Ballet School is the only professional dance school in the Midwest accredited by the National Association of Schools of Dance. With an annual operating budget of more than $5 million, Milwaukee Ballet presents more than 40 performances to more than 50,000 people each year. Its resident company includes 25 professional dancers along with 16 trainees in its Nancy Einhorn Milwaukee Ballet II program and is one of the few dance companies in the country to maintain its own symphony orchestra. Milwaukee Ballet School, the official school of the Ballet, has an enrollment of over 1,000 students at three locations throughout Southeastern Wisconsin.


Note to Editors: Interviews with Milwaukee Ballet’s Artistic Director Michael Pink, Lucas Jervies, Mauro de Candia and Edgar Zendejas, as well as high-resolution images, are available upon request.