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Upon watching the seven final performances on Friday, 15 June 2018 at Klub Żak, the jury of the international competition Solo Dance Contest 2018, comprising: Ewa Wycichowska, Inbal Pinto, Bojana Cvejic, Palle Granh?j and Anastasio Koukoutas, announced its verdict. The competition was organized as part of the 10th Gdańsk Dance Festival.

 

Art is not a sports competition and it is difficult to declare unanimous winners, but we did arrive at a decision in the end.

We are pleased to award prizes to four ?Solo Dance Contest? pieces:

 

1. Prize ? Poder Ser, choreography and performance: Leila Ka (France)

2. Prize ? Oh Boy, choreography: Antonin Rioche, performance: Benjamin Behrends (USA)

3. Prize (ex aequo):

Woman before decision making, choreography and performance: Rima Pipoyan

Shame, choreography and performance: YI-En Chen.

 

The Jury has also decided to split the financial awards more evenly:

2,500 EUR for the first prize to Leila Ka

1,500 EUR for the second prize to Benjamin Behrends

1,000 EUR for two third prizes to Rima Pipoyan and Yi-En Chen 

 

The prizes were awarded for:

– strong choreographic concept

– original dance language

– impressive performance

– courage in conveying personal experience

 

The audience award was presented to Rima Pipoyan for her solo Woman before decision making

 

Ewa Wycichowska, president of the jury, on the laureates of  Solo Dance Contest 2018:

 

Leila Ka has moved us from the get-go. Her choreography ?Poder Ser? seemed impeccable to me, as it did to the rest of the jury. It was pitch-perfect, both in terms of the concept, the idea ? which Leila Ka executed with a degree of distance ? and the structure. Every move was musically sensible.

 

Benjamin Behrendsurprised us with his maturity in transmitting what one can encounter in solitude. He did not shy away from comparisons that seem simplistic, endowing them with depth through his performance. Maturity is key in solo pieces, as they are more than mere technical showcases.

 

Rima Pipoyan was awarded for her choreography ?Woman before decision making?. Her dance is consistent and fine-tuned; so different and so unlike the techniques realized by everyone in the world. Her energy and strength? To me, there was a lot of Medea in her character, along with numerous associations with ancient Greece, archetypes, the quest for the Golden Fleece. It seems to me Rima Pipoyan has found it.

 

The title of YI-En Che?s choreography ?Shame? is very telling. We have seen two versions of this choreography, and saw a great artist who can put his dance language on display in a very emphatic way. As a result of certain reflections and the situation in the audience, he was able to present two different takes, each of which produced similar effects. His choreography was a platform for the culture of the East ? from Taiwan, through Korea, Japan, or even India ? I have noticed the Japanese kabuki and its emphasis on the gaze, focus, and symbolical gesture. To me, it was just as much a gender struggle as it was a struggle between culture and nature.

 

Winners? bios:

 

Leila Ka /France/ began her dance adventure as a hip-hop dancer. Together with George Cordeiro, she created the award-winning duo Two duet pieces. In 2016, she won Talents Danse Adami and joined Magua Marin?s company. Pode ser is her first solo, for which she won an award at the Cortoindanca Festival in Italy.

 

Benjamin Behrends /USA/ received as scholarship from the Boston Ballet at 16, and danced the main part in Trey McIntyre?s choreography Oh Inverted World, also performing with the McIntyre Project. He has been affiliated with the Nederlands Dans Theatre 2 for the past several years.

 

Rima Pipoyan /Armenia/ graduated with distinction in choreography and directing from the Yerevan State Institute of Theatre and Cinematography, where she currently works as a pedagogue, and from the Yerevan Dancing Art State College, where she received her dancer and ballet teacher diploma. She is the founder of the Choreography Development Foundation.

 

Yi-En Chen /Taiwan/ graduated from the dance department of the National Taiwan University of Arts. He is currently choreographer in residence within the frame of the Paris Cite des Arts Hong Kong Dance Exchange. In 2015-2017, he performed at Sadler?s Wells and New York City Center and was featured in Cloud Gate 2 and Ferment Body with the Cloud Gate theatre.

 

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