These two powerhouse arts organizations join forces to bring you an evening filled with beautiful music and world-class dance. Held every four years, the USA International Ballet Competition is a two-week “Olympic-style” competition for top young dancers and a major stepping-stone toward a professional career. Competitors from all over the world vie for gold, silver, and bronze medals; cash prizes; and company contracts. Dancers for this evening include Princess Reid (Joffrey Ballet), Chisako Oga (Boston Ballet), Derek Dunn (Boston Ballet), Misa Kuranaga (San Francisco Ballet), Brooklyn Mack (international guest artist), and Julia Rust (Joffrey Ballet).
In addition to the great dance performances, the Lagniappe Trio, featuring Rachel Taratoot Ciraldo, flute, Christopher Lowry, viola and composer, and Stephanie Gustafson Amfahr, harp, will perform to make the evening a perfect pairing of music and dance.
As a special offering for students of dance, the USA International Ballet Competition presents a barre class, Friday, June 11 from 12:00 noon - 1:30 p.m. at the South Mississippi Ballet Theatre (5296 Old Hwy 11 #5, Hattiesburg, MS 39402). In this class, Joffrey dancer and 2018 USA IBC medalist, will teach a special limited capacity class for aspiring dancers. Recommended or intermediate and advanced level dancers age 12 and up. Participants should wear leotards, tights, ballet shoes, have hair secured neatly (a bun for ladies), and a mask. The cost for the master class is $25 per participant. Visit festivalsouth.org to pre-register and for complete details.
Tickets, registration and more information may be found at festivalsouth.org. For more information, visit festivalsouth.org and social media including Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, and Twitter.
ABOUT THE DANCERS
Princess Reid grew up in Jacksonville, FL. She started studying ballet at age seven at The Florida Ballet under the direction of Laurie Picinich-Byrd where she danced until she was 18. Soon after, she joined Orlando Ballet's second company in 2015, where she stayed until May 2018. While in Orlando, Reid performed in Don Quixote, Serenade, and Val Caniparoli's A Cinderella Story, to name a few. Reid was also given the opportunity to perform Robert Hill's Requiem at the American Dance Competition gala in 2016 and in June 2018, she competed in the prestigious USA International Ballet Competition in Jackson, Mississippi.
Chisako Oga was born in Dallas, Texas. She trained at San Francisco Ballet School on a full scholarship, prior to being promoted to trainee then apprentice. In 2016, Oga joined the Cincinnati ballet, where she quickly rose to the position of principal. As a Principal at Cincinnati ballet, Oga danced roles such as Principal Couple in George Balanchine’s Rubies, Russian Girl in Balanchine’s Serenade, Aurora in Devon Carney’s The Sleeping Beauty, Juliet in Victoria Morgan’s Romeo and Juliet, and Swanilda in Kirk Peterson’s Coppélia. She has received several awards throughout her career. In 2016, she received a silver medal in the Shanghai International Ballet Competition. In 2018, she won the bronze medal at the USA International Ballet Competition. Oga has been praised by Dance Magazine for being a “technical whirlwind” with “riveting acting abilities.” Recently, she was named one of the “25 to Watch” in 2019. She joined the Boston Ballet as second soloist in 2019 and was promoted to soloist in 2020.
Derek Dunn began dancing at the Edna Lee Dance Studio in Maryland. He continued his training at The Rock School for Dance Education in Philadelphia from 2009 to 2012. Dunn joined Houston Ballet in 2012. With Houston Ballet, Dunn performed in ballets including Julia Adam’s Ketubah, David Bintley’s Aladdin (the Djinn), Christopher Bruce’s Intimate Pages, William Forsythe’s In The Middle, Somewhat Elevated, Melissa Hough’s …the third kind [is] useless, Ronald Hyne’s Merry Widow, Edward Liang’s Murmuration, Hans van Manen’s Solo, Jiři Kylián’s Sechs Tanze, Trey McIntyre’s Peter Pan, Ben Stevenson’s The Nutcracker (Gopak), Stanton Welch’s Clear, La Bayadère (Dream Gold), Madame Butterfly, Maninyas, Marie, Of Blessed Memory, Paquita, The Rite of Spring, Swan Lake, Sons de l’âme (Sounds of the Soul), and The Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra. His Boston Ballet repertoire includes George Balanchine’s Chaconne and Prodigal Son (The Son), August Bournonville’s pas de deux from Flower Festival in Genzano and La Sylphide (Gurn), John Cranko’s Romeo and Juliet (Mercutio), Jorma Elo’s Fifth Symphony of Jean Sibelius, William Forsythe’s Pas/Parts 2018, Wayne McGregor’s Obsidian Tear, Mikko Nissinen’s The Nutcracker (Harlequin, Pastorale, and Russian), and Justin Peck’s In Creases. Dunn earned the Youth America Grand Prix Award in 2008, the Junior Gold medal in 2010, and the Senior Gold medal in 2012 at the Youth America Grand Prix. He was also awarded the Junior Bronze Medal at the USA International Ballet Competition in 2010. Dunn has been featured on the October/November 2016 cover of Pointe magazine and in Dance Magazine’s “25 to Watch” in 2014. Dunn joined Boston Ballet as a soloist in 2017 and was promoted to principal dancer in 2018.
Misa Kuranaga initially trained at the Jinushi Kaoru Ballet School in her native Japan and then received additional training at the School of American Ballet in New York City. Before joining Boston Ballet in 2003 she was a member of the San Francisco Ballet. In Boston she was promoted to soloist in 2005 and to principal dancer in 2009. Kuranaga was the first Asian person to be promoted to principal dancer at Boston Ballet. She returned to San Francisco Ballet as a principal dancer in 2019.
Kuranaga started her competition career at the Chubu National Ballet Competition where she was the youngest participant to win the gold medal in the pre-junior division. When she was only ten years old she was invited by Bolshoi Ballet director Yuri Grigorovich to participate in the Moscow International Ballet Competition Gala. She received a scholarship award at the Prix de Lausanne competition in 2001 and also won a gold medal as a Junior in the Moscow IBC that same year. In 2006 she won the senior gold medal at the USA International Ballet Competition and was named one of "25 to Watch" by Dance Magazine. She has been a guest performer with the New York City Ballet (2009) and the Vail International Dance Festival (2009, 2010).
Brooklyn Mack began his ballet training at age 12 at the Pavlovich Dance School in Elgin, South Carolina. At age 15, he received a full scholarship to study at The Kirov Academy of Ballet in Washington, D.C. Mack joined the Joffrey Ballet in Chicago as an apprentice in 2004 and began training with ABT Studio Company in August 2005. He joined Orlando Ballet in 2006 and The Washington Ballet in 2009. In 2015, he became a guest artist with English National Ballet. Mack’s repertoire has included Prince Siegfried in Swan Lake, Crassus in Fernando Bujones’s Spartacus, Basilio and Espada in Don Quixote, Conrad and Ali in Le Corsaire, Albrecht in Giselle, Romeo in Romeo and Juliet and George Wilson in The Great Gatsby, as well as roles in Twyla Tharp’s Surfer At The River Styx, Nicolo Fonte’s Bolero Trey McIntyre’s A Day in the Life and Edwaard Liang’s La Ofrenda. His awards include a silver medal at the 2006 USA International Ballet Competition in Jackson, Mississippi, the 2007 Princess Grace Awards fellowship, the silver prize at the 2009 Helsinki International Ballet Competition, the Grand Prix at the 2012 Istanbul International Ballet Competition and the Gold Medal at the 2012 Varna International Ballet Competition.
Julia Rust was offered a full company contract just after turning 17 years old while at the prestigious USA International Ballet Competition in 2018. Ms. Rust, now in her third season with the esteemed Joffrey Ballet, was also awarded the Silver Medal. Born and raised in Noblesville, Indiana, she trained with Alyona Yakovleva-Randall and the faculty of Indiana Ballet Conservatory. She furthered her training during summers at many esteemed international schools and then at The Washington School of Ballet - all on scholarship. She continues to be coached by Irina Dvorovenko and Maxim Beloserkovsky. Rust was awarded the Grand Prix Award at the Youth America Grand Prix Semifinal and went on to place in the Top 12 at the World Finals in NYC. She is also the recipient of the Fernando Bujones Memorial Award at ADC|IBC. She has danced in "The Stars of Today Meet the Stars of Tomorrow" Gala in Salt Lake City, The International Ballet Festival of Miami, and the Awards Gala and Encore Gala at USA IBC. Ms. Rust appears courtesy of the Joffrey Ballet, Ashley Wheater, Artistic Director.