International ballet competition to take place virtually

Leroy Mokgatle was a gold and silver South African International Ballet Competition medallist in 2016. Picture: Pat Bromilow-Downing

The first SAIBC was held in Cape Town in 2008.

Historically, the week-long event would attract between 50 and 80 talented dancers and their support teams from almost every continent to the Mother City to compete for gold, silver and bronze medals and monetary prizes.

For the SAIBC Online, ages and categories for participants will remain the same: Scholars (12 to 15 years), Juniors (16 to 20 years) and Seniors (21 to 28 years) with men and women competing separately.

“In order to accommodate the impact that the pandemic has had on the training routine of dancers around the world who have been in lockdown for several weeks and unable to access dance studios, the competition panel will award the top prize in each category by an evaluation process as opposed to the usual scoring system. During the competition week, the panelists will also be giving each entrant constructive feedback after their variation has been viewed,” said Dirk Badenhorst, founding chief executive officer and director of Mzansi Ballet whose idea it was to switch to a virtual event.

Each competitor will need to register for the SAIBC Online between Monday June 15 and Wednesday June 17 and those accepted into the competition will then be required to submit video clips of themselves dancing two variations – a classical repertoire solo and a contemporary solo.

The dances must be filmed one week prior to the start of the competition.

Those without access to a formal dance studio will be permitted to enter in the contemporary division only.

The pre-recorded videos of selected candidates will be screened daily to a paying audience and dancers will be assessed by a panel who will offer feedback after each session.

There will be a prize for the best entrant overall, as well as bursaries and scholarships to ballet schools and summer intensive programmes.

SAIBC Online subscribers will be able to access the daily online master classes, live panel discussions and feedback after the competition rounds and the virtual gala on Saturday July 18 where guest artists from around the world will perform especially for the finale performance.

Registration forms, guidelines and more information can be found on and applicants must email their video submissions to

Follow the @saiballetcomp on Instagram and on Facebook for updates.