Paris International Dance
with the Varna contest)
By Patricia Boccadoro
7 December1998 - The 8th Concours International de Danse de Paris
under the presidency of Madame Chirac and organised by Cyril Lafaurie
ended with a Gala performance at the Theatre des Champs Elysées,
where winners danced together with guest artists from the previous
In the classical category, it was no
surprise to see the Grand Prix de la Ville de Paris won by Rolando
Sarabia (16), 1998 Varna gold medallist, and the first prize, men,
Junior, carried off with ease by Yosvani Ramos (19), 1996 Varna gold
medallist. In the Senior section, Howard Quintero (20) was awarded the
All three dancers, Cuban born, were trained at the National
School of Havana. Sarabia, now in his eighth year at the school
stupefied the audience with his extraordinary technique and artistry,
particularly in " Don Quixotte ", but the great
favourite was Ramos, actually member of " Young Ballet of France ",
who interpreted an irresistible solo to Jacques Brel's song, "
Les Bourgeois ".
The mens' first prize went to Dmitri
Goudanov(26) , soloist of the Bolshoi Ballet, Moscow
prize, women, Junior, went to Emilie Cozette(17) of the Opéra
of Paris who interpreted " La Cigarette " from " Suite
en Blanc ", choreography Serge Lifar with purity and grace.
The level of the women in the Senior category was a little
disappointing, but the lack of a winner here was more than compensated
for by the adorable South Korean ballerina, Kim Ji Young (20), who won
the first prize, couples, with her partner, Kim Yong Geol.
Young, trained in Russia, showed off her beautiful line and delicacy
of movement in the Tchaikovsky pas de deux.
The revelation of
the competition came in the contemporary section, dominated by the
Chinese, who have not only caught up with, but overtaken everyone
The hero here was the magnificent dancer Li Hong
Ju(25), who triumphed with his dramatic solo, " I want to Fly ",
which he choreographed together with Xing Liang. The tall, graceful
Hong Ju began studying Chinese dance at thirteen at the Shenyang Arts
School, joining Guangdong Modern Dance Company in 1996.
The Grand Prix de la Ville de Paris was nontheless awarded to
the more academic Zheng Wu (24), who allied acrobatics with artistry,
in a brilliant interpretation of José Montalvo's " La
Mitrailleuse en Etat de Grace 11 " .Wu, a pupil of the
Institute of Dance,Peking, has worked in France since 1996,and French
audiences should shortly be able to see him dance as he has recently
joined Montalvo's troupe.
One can not always understand a
jury's decision as to whom should receive , or not receive which
prize, but I particularly enjoyed two young dancers I saw in the
contemporary finals, Zhang Jing (20), and Zhang Yuanchun (24). They
interpreted "Yin Yang ", choreography Zhang Shouche
to music by Zhang Weiliang , but unlike their fellow countrymen, they
won no medals.
After the gala, the awards were presented to
these and the other prizewinners by Madame Jacques Chirac at the
Palais de l'Elysée.
10 to 22 November 1998
Classical jury presided by Elisabeth
Contemporary jury presided by Carolyn Carlson