NYIBC Gala: Celebrating the Life and Work of Ilona Copen

Start Date and Time: 03/22/2011 07:30 PM

End Date and Time: 03/22/2011 11:00 PM

Location: Skirball Center at NYU, 566 LaGuardia Place at Washington Square South New York, NY 10012

Hosted by

New York International Ballet Competition (NYIBC)

Founded by Ilona Copen and Igor Youskevitch

Educating, mentoring and providing performance and career advancement opportunities since 1984. NYIBC provides forty-eight full scholarships to talented young ballet dancers from all over the world.

NYIBC is a three-week intensive professional training and artistic education program that identifies and nurtures promising dancers ages 17 to 24 from all ethnicities. NYIBC's unique format distinguishes it from all other international ballet competitions. On arrival, the dancers learn the set repertory they will dance. This provides the highest standards of fairness. NYIBC provides its participants with an exceptional opportunity to completely focus on training to perform at their highest artistic level. Artistic directors and choreographers hire NYIBC participants because they know a dancer who has been trained and mentored at NYIBC can endure the rhythm of work and life in a ballet company.

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Event Details

NYIBC Gala: Celebrating the Life and Work of Ilona Copen

New York International Ballet Competition (NYIBC) celebrates the life and work of Ilona Copen, late Founder and Executive Director Emerita, with a Gala Performance followed by a Dinner Dance.

Featured artists at the Gala Performance include dancers from Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater (Matthew Rushing), American Ballet Theatre (Jose Manuel Carreo), Dance Theatre of Harlem (Flavia Garcia and DaVon Doane), Joffrey Ballet (Victoria Jaiani and Temur Suluashvili), Limon Dance Company (Roxane D'Orleans Juste), New Jersey Ballet (Junio Teixeira and Ana Luiza Luizi) and North Carolina Dance Theatre (Alessandra Ball and Abdul Manzano).

The evening will highlight the presentation of the first Ilona Copen Award at the Dinner Dance. Award recipients, as selected by the Artistic Board of NYIBC are Jean-Pierre Bonnefoux and Patricia McBride.


During her lifetime, Ilona Copen worked tirelessly to unite dancers throughout the world and to encourage and educate young dancers. She was deeply committed to inspiring and changing their lives. A wise and experienced leader, she combined professional excellence with warmth and generosity. It was always her hope that NYIBC participants would go home better dancers and better people. In addition to her full-time position as Executive Director of NYIBC, Ms. Copen was a Board member of World Dance Alliance.

As President of the International Theatre Institute's International Dance Committee, she created an extraordinary annual celebration of International Dance Day at UNESCO. She also served as an invaluable Board member and advisor to numerous dance companies. Giving back was at the core of everything she did.

Ms. Copen radiated the vitality of a dancer. She always reminded us, with boundless energy and zeal, that Dance is a natural and essential form of expression to be pra cticed and enjoyed by everyone.


The Ilona Copen Award is an annual, honorary award, celebrating the significant contribution to the ballet field by an individual, company or institution who or which provides young ballet dancers with: the finest educational, mentoring and cultural experiences; inspiration and encouragement to advance their careers to their fullest potential, raising their artistry, and stimulating their growth as an individual human beings.

The Award honors a recipient who or which works to further ballet as an art form by: discovering, nurturing and developing underexposed dance/ballet talent; promoting international understanding and goodwill through collaborative efforts across different artistic disciplines; upholding the traditions and history of this classical art form; and securing its future through fostering the advancement of ballet.

NYIBC 2009 (Photo Credit: Whitney Browne) (Click to enlarge photo)

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