Caulfield School of Dance student Sophia Reid-Gantzert, age 6, finished first in her category at the Vienna International Ballet Experience competition held in Vienna, Austria from March 21-24, 2016. The 10 member V.I.B.E. Vienna jury was composed of internationally renowned ballet dancers and choreographers including: First Soloist of Ekaterinburg State Ballet, Maria Sascha Khan, the UNESCO Mentor for Youth Arts in Action; U.S. dance superstar Rasta Thomas (Resident Director of the Debbie Allen Dance Academy in Los Angeles, founder and Artistic Director of the Bad Boys of Dance, etc.); and the heads of the Hungarian National Ballet, Royal Ballet of Brussels, and the Czech National Ballet.
After dancing in the preliminary and final rounds, Sophia was awarded top place in the ballet soloist under age seven group by the jury.
The international jury also honoured Sophia by selecting her to perform as the opening solo at the event’s Gala evening featuring artist of the Vienna State Opera Ballet with the Sommerakademie der Wiener Philharmonic Orchestra, Rasta Thomas, and select competitors, held in Vienna’s historic Volkstheatre.
The Vienna International Ballet Experience attracts outstanding dance competitors from across Europe, North America, and Asia. Sophia was selected to compete by video of her performing her solo at the Caulfield School of Dance January showcase submitted by her father, René.
Caulfield School of Dance Principal Cori Caulfield, choreographed Sophia’s winning solo based on the Valkyrie myth to Wagner’s iconic “Ride of the Valkyries”. Jury members noted the artistry displayed in young Sophia’s dancing and the uniqueness of the choreography.
Along with coaching during the competition by Miss Cori, Sophia’s Mom, Kerri-Ann, helped support Sophia’s success immensely, especially by supervising Sophia stretching and rehearsing everyday.
Asked about her experience, Sophia Reid-Gantzertsaid: “I had a lot of fun with dancers from all over the world, even though we didn’t speak the same language. I was kind of nervous for the competition, but I was very excited to win.”
Cori Caulfield remarked, “I have never seen such technical prowess – really jaw dropping abilities – and artistic sophistication in pre-professionals before. Competitors from Hungary, Japan, and Romania were particularly impressive…. It was magical watching little Sophia improving literally from hour to hour over those four days from the inspiration of taking class and sharing the stage with these extraordinary young dancers. And it was just adorable to watch her making friends with children from all these other countries. Even without speaking the same language, they were so drawn to each other and delighted to be sharing this experience.”