HAVANA._ One of the world’s leading ballet stars, Ukrainian Vladimir Malakhov, has created more prizes and scholarships for summer courses at two U.S. Ballet companies for the winners of the International North Atlantic Dance Contest in Cuba.

The event, sponsored by the local contemporary dance company Codanza, will once more be held in the eastern province of Holguín from September 20 to 30.

One of the world’s leading ballet stars, Ukrainian Vladimir Malakhov, has created more prizes and scholarships for summer courses at two U.S. Ballet companies for the winners of the International North Atlantic Dance Contest in Cuba.Dancers between the ages of 18 and 35 will have an opportunity to win the Vladimir Malakhov Grand Prix with a pas de deux, a classical solo or a neoclassical, or a contemporary performance that does not exceed ten minutes.

It has been announced that the second edition of the event offers new prizes such as the Vladimir Malakhov Grand Prix for Best Company, the People’s Choice Award, and the Paul Seaquist Award.

The latter award will grant scholarships for summer courses at the prestigious Alvin Ailey Ballet Company of New York, and Joffrey Ballet Company of Chicago; both in the United States.

Cuba’s Codanza Company will continue to award the Choreography Grand Prix, named after the institution. Entries for this prize must present a ballet piece never performed before or premiered less than one year earlier of no more than 10 minutes long. The deadline for registration is July 30.

The contest’s first edition brought together 75 partipants and, according to organizers, showcased the high quality of Cuba’s ballet in the country’s central and eastern regions where this type of performance dance is not as commonplace as in the capital.

The event, originally a dance contest, has become a wonderful festival, Malakhov said at the closing of the first edition, when the winners were the Cubans Lisbeth Saad, for her role as Edith Piaf in Non, choreographed by Osnel Delgado, and Carlos Carbonell for his performance in the ballet “Pasajera la lluvia” (Transient Rain) choreographed by Nelson Reyes.

For its part, Codanza granted the Choreography Grand Prix to Joel González from Danza Fragmentada Company of Guantánamo for his “Estáticos” (Static) piece.

The director of the International North Atlantic Dance Contest studied at the prestigious Russian Bolshoi school and starred with the largest U.S. Ballet company, the American Ballet Theater, where he shared the stage several times with the great Cuban dancer José Manuel Carreño.

With amazing flexibility and control of his 46 year old body, the artist directed the Berlin State Opera Ballet for nearly ten years and currently has that same responsibility at the Ballet Company of Tokyo, Japan.

Malakhov performed for the first time in Cuba during the International Ballet Festival of Havana in 2010, when he decided that he would certainly return to the Caribbean island to offer his art.

He kept his word and came back within three years, but instead of returning to Havana he traveled to the province of Holguín, the city that first welcomed him. He had arrived there without expectations and without knowing anyone –he never imagined receiving so many expressions of affection and finding such outstanding ballet.

Thus the link between the artist and the Cuban province was forged and has continued to earn recognition not only within the country but abroad as well

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