The competition, founded by Ilona Copen in 1983, is open to women between the ages of 17 and 23 and men between 18 and 24. The 48 dancers from 19 countries selected for the competition traveled to New York earlier this month and have been preparing with the competition's teaching staff for the last two weeks.
Tonight and tomorrow night, pairs of dancers will perform the pas de deux from Frederick Ashton's La Fille mal gard_e. Judges will then select semifinalists, who will perform the pas de deux from Jos_ Lim‹n's Choreographic Offering and solo works at a concert on June 24. Finalists will return to perform the Satanella pas de deux on June 25. The winners will be announced, and will perform, at a gala event on June 26, which will also feature past winners.
The young dancers perform with the same partners throughout the competition, even if the partners have been eliminated.
The jury is chaired by Victoria Morgan, artistic director of the Cincinnati Ballet, and includes Alexei Ratmansky, artistic director of the Bolshoi Ballet, and Stanton Welch, artistic director of the Houston Ballet.
Previous winners include Gillian Murphy and Jose Manuel Carreño of American Ballet Theatre, Victoria Mazzarelli of the Zurich Ballet, and Maximiliano Guerra of La Scala.