A shower of prizes for Hungarian National Ballet Institute students at the dance olympics

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There are two first, two second, a third prize winner and two finalists of the international ballet competition TANZOLYMP held in Berlin among the students of the OPERA’s ballet school, the Hungarian National Ballet Institute, meaning they could also perform at the gala closing the event. The young dancers studying in the ballet programme of the Hungarian State Opera launched six years ago achieved these extraordinary results competing with 350 contestants from 28 countries.

Katica Ruip, year 6, who already won first prize in her age group at TANZOLYMP in 2019, proved to be the best in the Classical Dance Solo category again, performing the Odile variation from Swan Lake and an excerpt from Carmen Suite, while she reached second place in the Contemporary Dance Solo category with Adrienn Vetési’s choreography Blooming. On top of these two achievements, Katica won three scholarships to programmes at the State Ballet School in Berlin, the Ballet Academy of the University of Music and Performing Arts in Munich and the Zurich Dance Academy.

A duo of second year students, Julianna Éva Pollák and Júlia Pásztor also won first place in the Classical Duo category, dancing variations from the ballet The Little Humpbacked Horse. Fourth year student Oliva Bobvos finished in second place in the Classical Dance Solo category, performing solos from Gayane and The Flames of Paris, while sixth year student Cecília Porkoláb won third prize in the same category and was offered an audition to the Dutch National Ballet Academy after her performance of the Odette variation from Swan Lake and an excerpt from Paquita at this prestigious event. Franciska Yuki Bonecz from year 3 and Lilla Emese Varga from year 4 also proved their worth by making it into the finals after putting serious effort into their preparation for the competition.

“There is great interest in us right now; everyone is asking how we could achieve so much in such a short time”, said Dace Radina, the artistic director of the Hungarian National Ballet Institute and ballet mistress of Katica Ruip and Cecília Porkoláb, after the award ceremony. For the exceptional success of the seven students from the Hungarian National Ballet Institute, director of the Hungarian National Ballet Tamás Solymosi thanked their tutors, Dace Radina, Olga Chernakova, Dmitrij Taraszovics Kirejko and Adrienn Vetési ballet masters, and Szilveszter Ókovács, the general director of the OPERA for all the support given to the students, as well as the curators of the Foundation for the Ballet Students of the Hungarian State Opera, along with everyone who helped the students—especially their parents, who shared the excitement of the children and their masters over the past few days.

The aim of the Berlin TANZOLYMP ballet competition held for the 19th time this year between 17 and 22 February is to help young dancers start their international career and to promote dance through masterclasses, seminars and competitions. The event attracts about a thousand youths between 10 and 21 years of age from all over the world, having them compete in numerous categories, dancing classical and contemporary pieces. The gala programme features the best performances selected by a panel of 15 prestigious professionals including principal soloists from the Berlin State Ballet and the Ukrainian National Opera in Kiev, and directors of the schools of ballet companies in Amsterdam, Basel, Berlin, Lisbon, London, Munich, Vienna and Zurich.

The Hungarian State Opera and the Hungarian National Ballet established their own ballet training programme in 2016 under the name Hungarian National Ballet Institute in order to use their own devices to promote the art of dance, to contribute to the education of the future generation of Hungarian ballet dancers and that of an audience loving and understanding this genre, and to create an opportunity for children to show their skills in theatrical productions, even sharing the stage with adult, principal dancers. The institution is led by Tamás Solymosi, managed by the Hungarian National Ballet. Since 2018, he is assisted by artistic director and ballet dancer Dace Radina, who has been a member of the Hungarian National Ballet for 24 years, and who was a soloist of the company for over one and a half decades before her retirement.

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