For patrons and lovers of the arts, attending high-caliber, live ballet performances without breaking the bank can be a challenge. International ballet competitions, however, which take place in the United States and in other countries throughout the world, allow you to see the world’s top aspiring dancers compete for scholarships, titles, contracts, and recognition on their journeys toward professional dancing.

Each ballet competition varies in its individual structure and length, but all follow a consistent pattern in price, flexibility, and atmosphere—prime reasons to consider attending a competition over a professional company performance.ballet_01-copy


Held annually in the David H. Koch Theatre in New York City, the Youth America Grand Prix Finals are one of many competitions that offer exceptional dancing at a minimal cost, with ticket prices ranging from $25 to $45. This may still seem pricey to some, but compared to the price of an American Ballet Theatre performance in the same theater—often $300 per ticket—the YAGP Finals are a terrific deal.


Ballet can sometimes stretch the patience and attention spans of little ones or other comrades who may not be as enthusiastic about dance as you are. At ballet competitions, most pieces are solos, pas de deuxs (duets), or small group numbers and normally last less than five minutes each. Only care to see a few superstars of the event? It’s not rude to leave in between pieces at a competition. Take a break to explore the city, and then come back in time to catch the performances you most want to see.


Held every four years, the USA International Ballet Competition describes itself as a “two-week ‘Olympic-style’ competition.” For those not particularly fond of pointe shoes, Petipa, or pas de deuxs, this competitive atmosphere can provide enough excitement to keep the events compelling. Viewers can predict who they think will come out on top, providing an added element of fun to the world of ballet and a chance to glimpse the ballet stars of tomorrow.

—Natalie Taylor


International competitions to see this spring:

Youth America Grand Prix Finals

April 9–10, New York City, New York


Moscow International Ballet Competition

June 10–19, Moscow, Russia


USA International Ballet Competition

June 14–29, Jackson, Mississippi


Varna International Ballet Competition

July 15–30, Varna, Bulgaria


Photo credits:

Jack Devant