Columbia Classical Ballet dancers take top prizes in international competition

Over the years, Columbia Classical Ballet Artistic Director Radenko Pavlovich has coached Columbia native and Washington (D.C.) Ballet member Brooklyn Mack through international ballet competitions where he took several top prizes. Two of Pavlovich’s other students – Nations Wilkes-Davis, a Classical Ballet company member, and Kota Fuijishima, who will join the company next season, have won top prizes in the Valentina Kozlova International Ballet Competition held in New York June 28-30.

Columbia Classical Ballet dancersWilkes-Davis (left in photo) won the second place award in the student division, and Fuijishima (right in photo) won the silver medal in the senior male division. Wilkes-Davis, who is only 14, has been studying with Pavlovich for four years and dances in most of the company’s productions.

“We’re putting Columbia on the map with all these wins,” said Pavlovich, who founded the Classical Ballet 22 years ago. “We’ve had remarkable success with Brooklyn winning so many awards, and it’s wonderful to continue training dancers who do so well in these international competitions.”

The competition included 100 dancers from 30 countries. As medalists, the two dancers participated in the competition’s closing gala with dancers from several major companies, including the New York City Ballet. The jury included Andris Liepa, People’s Artist of Russia; Oleksi Bessmertni, founder and director of the International Dance Festival TANZOLYMP in Germany; Olga Guardia de Smoak, president of the New Orleans International Ballet Conference and artistic advisor to the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Panama; and Hae Shik Kim, founding dean of the Korean National University of Arts, School of Dance.

Brooklyn Mack began training with Pavlovich at 12 and has won the gold medal at the Varna International Ballet Competition, the Grand Prix Award at the Istanbul International Ballet Competition and silver medals in the USA International Ballet Competition, the Helsinki International Ballet Competition and Korean International Dance Competition.

The Classical Ballet season starts in September and will include The Sleeping Beauty and Don Quixote.