For the latest generations of professional dancers, the competition world is a key to advancement, whether that is finding a school or a company, a scholarship or apprenticeship. As companies rely more on their schools as a funding source of both earned and gift revenues, they have placed more emphasis on having their company made up mostly or entirely of school graduates. This obviously makes for similar training and style among company members but it means more and more that dancers need to get into the school of the company in which they want to work.

Competitions, exploding onto the scene in the 1990’s, are a way for pre-professional and even professional dancers to be seen in class and performance by those directors who can advance their careers. Too often, if they do not emerge with a contract or scholarship, the experience is one in which too little is gained. So Indianapolis City Ballet created its education-rich model of dance competition, featuring not only performance and advancement opportunities typical to other competitions, but also critical information and connections that are vital to dancer development.

Starting in 2015 at Butler University, and followed by a 2017 competition at Anderson University, the 2019 competition was located in New York City in affiliation with New York University/Tisch School of the Arts as a means to broaden recognition and open a new front, allowing a potential annual event that alternates between Indianapolis and New York.


Dance Prix de New York

Created in March 2019 in partnerships with New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts and with Indianapolis City Ballet as a promotional partner, this competition had both a classical and contemporary track and expanded the educational components to include not only daily master classes but also panel discussions on choreography, a life in dance, comparing three styles of ballet training and health & wellness.


ICB Dance Competition

Taking place in October 2017 at Anderson University, this competition had an open enrollment format and gave students the opportunity to perform classical and contemporary works with a film screening, Q&A with the judges and master classes. The event was generously sponsored by John and Sarah Lechleiter.


Indianapolis Intl. Ballet Competition

Sponsored by John and Sarah Lechleiter and taking place in June 2015 at Butler University, the IIBC set a new standard for ballet competitions in America with daily classes and coaching augmenting the performance schedule.

Dance Prix de New York

March 2019 – New York City

Elizabeth Coker, NYU/Tisch
Angel Corella, Pennsylvania Ballet
Seán Curran, NYU/Tisch
Edward Ellison, Ellison Ballet
Giada Ferrone, NYU/Tisch, Toscana Dance
Erica Fischbach, Colorado Ballet School
Cynthia Harvey, ABT Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School
Julie Kent, The Washington Ballet
Hae Shik Kim, Korea National University of Arts
Jessica Lang, Choreographer
Cherylyn Lavagnino, Lavagnino Dance, NYU/Tisch
James Martin, NYU/Tisch
Tadeusz Matacz, John Cranko Schule
Melanie Person, Ailey School
Laurel Toto, Canadaís National Ballet School

Karin Averty
Maxim Beloserkovsky
Franco De Vita
Irina Dvorovenko
Megan Fairchild
Cynthia Harvey
Raymond Lukens
Daniel Ulbricht
Martine Van Hamel

Jacqulyn Buglisi, Buglisi Dance Theatre
Richard Chen See, Paul Taylor Dance
Elizabeth Coker, NYU/Tisch
Seán Curran, Seán Curran Company
Doug Elkins, Doug Elkins Choreography
Lakey Evans-Peña, The Ailey School
Giada Ferrone, NYU/Tisch
Phyllis Lamhut, NYU/Tisch
Jessica Lang, Choreographer
Heidi Latsky. Heidi Latsky Dance
Jordan Demetrius Lloyd, David Dorfman Dance
Diane Madden, Independent

Richard Chen See
Elizabeth Coker
Seán Curran
Lakey Evans-Peña
Kristen Foote
Heidi Latsky
Jordan Lloyd
Jeremy Nelson
Annique Roberts
Christina Robson

Choreography: Seán Curran, Jessica Lang, Troy Schumacher; Classical & Contemporary Dance & Paul Taylor Tribute: Richard Chen See; Contemporary Choreography: Jacqulyn Buglisi, Colin Connor & Heidi Latsky; Health & Wellness: Julie Daugherty; Profile Interview/Q&A: Alexei Ratmansky; Styles of Ballet Technique: Elena Kunikova, Alban Lendorf & Raymond Lukens: Master Teacher Q&A: Irina Dvorovenko, Megan Fairchild & Daniel Ulbricht. Moderators: John Meehan and Seán Curran.

Indianapolis City Ballet Dance Competition

October 2017 – Anderson, IN


Jury Chair: Melanie Person, Co-Director, The Ailey School
Elizabeth Coker, Assistant Arts Professor, NYU/Tisch & Associate Artistic Director, Seán Curran Company
Edward Ellison, Artistic Director, Ellison Ballet
Susan Jaffe, Dean of Dance, University of North Carolina School of the Arts
Dawn Kelly, Assistant Academy Principal, Cincinnati Ballet
Valerie Madonia, Academy Director, Colorado Ballet Academy
Claudio Muñoz, Ballet Master, Houston Ballet II
William Piner, Academy Director, Ballet Austin
Sharon Story, Dean of the Center for Dance Education, Atlanta Ballet
Michael Vernon, Chair Emeritus, Ballet Department, Indiana University Bloomington/Jacobs School of Music


Michael Johnson, Warm-up Classes (Founding Director, Kids Dance Outreach) Mónica Muñoz, Warm-up Classes (Associate Director, Kids Dance Outreach) Gillian Murphy, Master Classes (Principal Ballerina, American Ballet Theatre) Suki Schorer, Master Classes (Faculty, School of American Ballet)


Q&A with the Judges
Film Screening – Designers of the Dance/PBS
Master Classes with Michael Johnson, Mónica Muñoz, Gillian Murphy & Suki Schorer

Indianapolis International Ballet Competition

June 2015 – Butler University


Patrick Armand – Associate Director, San Francisco Ballet School
Edward Ellison – Artistic Director, Ellison Ballet
Franco De Vita – Artistic Director, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School at ABT
Hae Shik Kim – Founding Dean, Korean National University of Arts, School of Dance
Alexei Kremnev – Artistic Director, The Joffrey Academy of Dance
Tadeusz Matacz – Director, John Cranko Schule
Shelly Power – Academy Director, Houston Ballet Academy
Mavis Staines – Artistic Director and CEO, Canada’s National Ballet School
Demis Volpi – Choreographer-in-Residence, Stuttgart Ballet


Patrick Dupond – Former Etoile and Artistic Director, Paris Opera Ballet
Gonzalo Garcia – Principal Dancer, New York City Ballet
Greta Hodgkinson – Principal Ballerina, National Ballet of Canada
Susan Jaffe – Dean of Dance, North Carolina School of the Arts
Monique Loudière – Former Director, Rosella Hightower School, Cannes
Sofiane Sylve – Principal Ballerina, San Francisco Ballet
Contemporary Teachers – Carlos Dos Santos and David Hochoy