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This Year's Varna International Ballet Competition Just Got Postponed

Photo by Nina Lokmadzhieva, courtesy of Varna IBC

The oldest ballet competition in the world doesn't have the funds for the show to go on: The 29th edition of the Varna International Ballet Competition, scheduled for July 12–30, 2020, has been postponed indefinitely.


Organizers told Reuters that they haven't received sufficient sponsorship or donations to produce the event this year. According to the competition's website, less than 30 percent of Varna IBC's operating costs are state subsidized.

The biennial event regularly draws more than 150 young dancers between the ages of 15 and 25 from almost 40 countries around the world. Dancers like Mikhail Baryshnikov, Natalia Makarova and Sylvie Guillem all won medals on Varna's famous outdoor stage before going on to become ballet legends.

All hope it not yet lost: The competition is currently looking for sponsorships and donations to make the next edition happen ASAP. A pop-up message on Varna's homepage says that any plans to reschedule the dates will be announced on its social-media platforms as well as the website.

Teaching Tips
A 2019 Dancewave training. Photo by Effy Grey, courtesy Dancewave

By now, most dance educators hopefully understand that they have a responsibility to address racism in the studio. But knowing that you need to be actively cultivating racial equity isn't the same thing as knowing how to do so.

Of course, there's no easy answer, and no perfect approach. As social justice advocate David King emphasized at a recent interactive webinar, "Cultivating Racial Equity in the Classroom," this work is never-ending. The event, hosted by Dancewave (which just launched a new racial-equity curriculum) was a good starting point, though, and offered some helpful takeaways for dance educators committed to racial justice.

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The author, Robyn Watson. Photo courtesy Watson

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According to onstageblog.com, out of the 30 top-ranked college dance programs in the U.S., tap dance is offered at 19 of them, but only one school requires majors to take more than a beginner course—Oklahoma City University. Many prestigious dance programs, like the ones at NYU Tisch School of the Arts and SUNY Purchase, don't offer a single course in tap dance.

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After months of lockdowns and virtual learning, many studios across the country are opening their doors and returning to in-person classes. Teachers and students alike have likely been chomping at the bit in anticipation of the return of dance-class normalcy that doesn't require a reliable internet connection or converting your living room into a dance space.

But along with the back-to-school excitement, dancers might be feeling rusty from being away from the studio for so long. A loss of flexibility, strength and stamina is to be expected, not to mention emotional fatigue from all of the uncertainty and reacclimating to social activities.

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