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Program Question


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To anyone who's been to a Mariinsky performance in St. Petersburg-- I've noticed that in the Russian version of programs, some dancers (from corps through the soloist ranks, and I've seen it repeated for certain dancers too) have "Лауреат международных конкурсов" meaning "winner of an international competition", roughly in english, but I was curious if anyone knew what exactly that meant? What does it mean for the dancer? Why is it shown in the program? I see it all the time in photos, under various dancers names, and repeated for some randomly, so how often does it happen? Sorry if this seems like a dumb question, but it's one I've had for quite some time! 

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It means that a dancer was a awarded a prize at, say, the Helsinki International Ballet Competition. Preoccupation with competitions was a peculiarly Soviet thing. It's strange to us, because we see competitions for young performing artists are some measure of potential, not as certification of finished artistry. Fernando Bujones, who was very successful in competitions, once said that they measured a dancer's ability to perform a certain kind of repertoire in a certain kind of setting. But there it's regarded as an important set of credentials for a junior dancer. However, once a dancer has reached a certain rank, or been awarded a Merited or People's honorific, it seems silly to mention that as a 22-year-old they won a medal at a competition for a particularly snazzy rendition of the Le Corsaire pas de deux.

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