by Paula Citron
The late Erik Bruhn left a prize to be awarded to emerging dancers from the four ballet companies nearest to his heart – and this year’s competition was filled with high drama.
Tina Pereira and Keiichi Hirano from the National Ballet of Canada were performing the pas de deux from “Le Corsaire” when disaster struck. In his solo variation, Hirano suffered a snapped Achilles tendon.
With incredible courage Pereira took to the stage, and turned the duet into a solo. For her performance in a contemporary piece, principal dancer Guillaume Côté stepped in to partner Pereira in the Balcony Pas de Deux from John Cranko’s “Romeo and Juliet”.
When the award for best female competitor was announced, Pereira was the winner, surely for her grace under fire as much for her considerable dance skills.
As for the male winner, with Hirano out of the running, the clear choice was the Royal Danish Ballet’s talented Ulrik Birkkjaer.
What a night!
From the Four Seasons Centre, I’m Paula Citron, arts reviewer for CLASSICAL 96.3 FM.