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For the 12th time the Dance Open International Ballet Festival was held in St. Petersburg, April 18-22. It is starting to become one of the most important ballet festivals around the world, recently ranked by the English newspaper “The Independent” among the top ten.

Originally it was conceived to give talented ballet students the opportunity to take master classes with outstanding teachers from the Vaganova Academy, Dance Open has recently grown to include a “gala” section with the most famous and renowned ballet dancers from around the world and a final competition as well.

The mornings were scheduled for five masterclasses with prominent Russian teachers and dance instructors from the Vaganova Ballet Academy and Mariinsky Theater, while the evenings where dedicated to the main performances. For the first time since its inception, it featured a triple bill of contemporary works performed by three top ballet companies: the Slovene National Ballet Company, the Semperoper Ballett Dresden and the Bolshoi Ballet. The third night was dedicated to a themed gala entitled “A History of Russian Ballet” and on the final night the “Gala of International Stars”, an incredible gathering of some of the world’s top dancers competing for the prestigious crystal replica of the bronze cast of Anna Pavlova’s foot.

The judges for this event were nine company directors – Vladimir Malakhov, Denis Matvienko, Yuri Fateev, Boris Eifman, Igor Zelensky, Kevin O’Hare, Edward Clug, Galina Stepanenko and Aaron Watkin – and two choreographers – Hans van Manen and David Dawson.

Final winners?

DANCE OPEN GRAND PRIX: Lucia Lacarra
Lucia Lacarra.

Lucia Lacarra.

BEST DUET: Jurgita DroninaFabien Voranger and Elisa Carrillo CabreraMikhail Kaniskin

From left to right: Fabien Voranger, Jurgita Dronina, Mikhail Kaniskin and Elisa Carrillo Cabrera.

PEOPLE’s CHOISE AWARD: Daniel Ulbricht
MR. VIRTUOSO: Joseph Gatti

From left to right: Daniel Ulbricht, Ashley Bouder and Joseph Gatti.

MS. VIRTUOSO: Ashley Bouder and Iana Salenko

Iana Salenko in “Diana and Acteon Pas de Deux”

MS. EXPRESSIVITY: Olga Smirnova

Olga Smirnova and Semyon Chudin in ‘Thiais’.

MR. EXPRESSIVITY: Herman Cornejo

Herman Cornejo with Iana Salenko in “Diana and Acteon Pas de Deux”.