An article* in today's Deseret News offers more information on Junior Special Distinction winner Whitney Jensen. While lumping the terms Special Distinction and Grand Prix (as seen earlier in this thread, both applied in 2006 to Ivan Vasliev, but just the former to Ms. Jensen), the article does give information on the rarity of the Special Distinction award:
The Varna International Ballet Competition in Bulgaria has only given out four Special Distinction Grand Prix awards in its 44-year history.
Those winners are Vladimir Vasiliev, Rolondo Sarabia, Ivan Vasilev and Whitney Jensen.
Out of all those, Jensen is the only female and the only dancer from the United States to be awarded that honor, which was presented to her last month.
For the competition she was prepared by her teacher Valentina Koslova:
"I danced variations from 'Diane and Acteon,' 'Harlequinade,' 'Le Corsaire' and the 'Black Swan,"' Jensen said. "I also danced two contemporary works by Igal Perry and Chantelle Collier, which my sister Bryn helped me restage."
Jensen's goal was to complete the first round and get into the second, she said.
"I really had no expectations, though," she said. "But after the second round things happened so fast. My heart was beating so fast, and when they called my name, I was so overwhelmed and shocked. I couldn't believe that I got it."
She has entered and won prizes in a number of competitions:
"I began moving towards ballet because I developed a goal to do ballet competitions," Jensen said during an interview at the Deseret News. "I wanted to compete and live in Europe."
A few years ago, Jensen performed as Clara in the "Christmas Spectacular" at the Radio City Music Hall. While in New York, she and her mother searched for a ballet school.
They found Valentina Kozlova's Dance Conservatory in New York, run by Kozlova, a former Bolshoi Ballet principal dancer.
"We looked at all the big schools and weren't impressed," Lausanne Jensen said. "But when we met Valentina, I knew she was the one for Whitney."
There is a nice four photo set of the dancer included in the article.