The IV International Competition of Ballet Dancers in Moscow

June 11 - June 26, 1981

126 participants from 23 countries

The number of participants has grown every year. The list of participating countries was also expanded: in 1981, for the first time, dancers from Vietnam and Venezuela took part in the competition. In total, 102 dancers from 23 countries took to the Bolshoi Theatre stage during the IV International Competition of Ballet Dancers in Moscow.

Gold medal
Silver medal
Bronze medal
Diplomas and awards

Chairman of the Organizing Committee

Olga Lepeshinskaya (USSR)

Chairman of the Jury

Yuri Grigorovich (USSR)

Jury Members

Enayat Azmi (Egypt)
Alicia Alonso (Cuba)
Konstanze Vernon (Germany - FRG)
Olimpia Gelodary (Greece)
Sofia Golovkina (USSR)
Rekmini Devi (India)
Robert Joffrey (USA)
Baljinniamin Jamiandagva (Mongolia)
Rostislav Zakharov (USSR)
Galia Izmajlova (USSR)
Kara Karaev (USSR)
Vera Kirova (Bulgaria)
Maria Kryszkowska (Poland)
Hans Meister (Switzerland)
Anna Mascolo (Portugal)
Juri Nemecek (Czechoslovakia)
Katarina Obradovich (Yugoslavia)
Betty Oliphant (Canada)
Minoru Ochi (Japan)
Magdalena Рора (Rumania)
Elena Potapova (USSR)
Elza Marianna von Rosen (Sweden)
Marina Semenova (USSR)
Konstantin Sergeyev (USSR)
Margaret Scott (Australia)
Elsa Silvesterson (Finland)
Merich Siumen (Turkey)
Galina Ulanova (USSR)
Jozef Forgacz (Hungary)
Тот Schilling (Germany - GDR)
Yvette Chauvire (France)
Irek Mukhamedov (USSR)
Alia Artyushkina-Khaniashvili (USSR)
Margarita Perkun-Bebezitchi (USSR)
Yanis Pikieris (Venezuela)
Natalia Arkhipova (USSR)
Amanda McKerrow (USA)
Andris Liepa (USSR)
Kimberly Glasko (Canada)
Tatiana Kladnichkina (USSR)
Anna Kushnereva (USSR)
Svetlana Smirnova (USSR)
Anatoly Kucheruk (USSR)
Kevin Pugh (Canada)
Yurie Shimomura (Japan)
Owen Montague(Canada)
Yundendorjijn Ojun (Mongolia)
Maria del Rosario Suarez (Cuba)
Claudia Jung (Germany - FRG)
Yuri Vasuchenko (USSR)
Konstantin Zaklinsky (USSR)
Vladimir Kirillov (USSR)
Thomas Vollmer (Germany - GDR)
Natalia Akhmarova (USSR)
Martine Lamy (Canada)
Michael Budach (Germany - GDR)
Jyu Horiuchi (Japan)

Award to the Best Couple

Galina Krapivina and Irek Mukhamedov (USSR)
Martine Lamy and Serge Lavoie (Canada)

Award for Artistic Merits

Aleksandr Stepkin (USSR)
Partnering Award
Simon Day (USA)
Dinko Bagdanic (Yugoslavia)
Eugenia Korastyleva (USSR)
Zamira Davletmuratova (USSR)
Osoryn Batsaihan (Mongolia)
Yassen Vulchanov (Bulgaria)
Marek Stasiewicz (Poland)

USSR Ministry of Culture Award

Nina Ananiashvili (USSR)

Moscow Ballet School Award

Owen Montague (Canada)

Vaganova Leningrad Ballet School Award

Michael Budach (Germany - GDR)
Choreography Award
Baljinniamin Jamiandagva (Mongolia) - for "Living Symphony

Diplomas to Ballet Pianists

Emma Lippa (USSR)
Mary Macdonald (Canada)
Ivo Klatev (Bulgaria)
Konstantin Paleev (USSR)

The Closing Ceremony of the IV International Competition of Ballet Dancers in Moscow on the Bolshoi Theatre stage. Photo: TASS
The rating system has also become more complex. The dancers were divided into two age groups: juniors, from 16 to 19, and seniors, from 20 to 28-year-olds. In each group, separate prizes were awarded to the winners.

In the first round, participants showed their skills by performing pieces from the classical repertoire. In the second round, which had only 59 dancers, classical and contemporary choreography became intricately intertwined. The finalists were 32 contestants. Only they were allowed into the third round. Their competition ended almost at midnight. Afterward, the jurors began their meeting, which lasted until five in the morning.

According to the Jury, the highest level of excellence was shown by Irek Mukhamedov and Galinina Krapivina. They presented a pas de deux from the ballet Don Quixote in the third round. Mukhamedov's performance progressed, culminating in the third round. With all his dedication, the dancer proved to the international jury that he was worthy of becoming the Grand Prix's second winner, the competition's highest award. Further, Mukhamedov was a soloist of the Bolshoi Theatre for ten years; then, he premiered at the Royal Ballet in London, and, in 2007, he headed the ballet troupe of the Greek National Opera

Laureate of the IV International Competition of Ballet Dancers in Moscow, Irek Mukhamedov (USSR), Grand Prix. Photo: TASS
Gold medals in 1981 were awarded to Soviet dancers Alia Artyushkina-Khaniashvili, Natalia Arkhipova, Margarita Perkun-Bebezitchi, and Andris Liepa, as well as to American ballerina Amanda McKerrow and Venezuelan dancer Yanis Pikieris. For the first time at the Moscow competition, Baljinniamin Jamiandagva (Mongolia) got the Choreography Award for the Living Symphony performance.

This Competition of Ballet Dancers in Moscow allowed the international ballet community to establish an international and intercultural dialogue and share the latest choreography achievements. The IV International Competition in Moscow included film screenings about the Soviet way to teach choreography. Sofia Golovkina, director of the Moscow school, gave a master class in classical women's dance. Furthermore, Yuri Grigorovich, chief choreographer of the Bolshoi Theatre, answered questions on choreographic education problems, the relationship between schools and the theatre, and spoke about the Bolshoi Theatre's plans.

“Unexpectedly for many, not only for spectators but also professionals who come across Irek Mukhamedov from tour to tour, he suddenly emerged as a big star. From round to round, the artist has attracted more and more attention. From round to round, the contestant's creative tension and will to win increased, and his skills and talent were revealed more and more".

Kara Karaev, composer and member of the international jury, talks about Irek Mukhamedov, Grand Prix winner at the IV International Competition of Ballet Dancers in Moscow

“I think the competition is interesting because it gives food for thought about the current state of choreographic art. Observing, comparing, and analyzing different schools' characteristics and their future development is interesting, useful, and enlightening. Perhaps most importantly, the competition makes it possible to see for oneself that an individual style is above all else of value in art. It should be carefully preserved and protected from loss and overlaps”.

Alicia Alonso (Cuba), member of the jury, founder of The Cuban National Ballet

“The broad panorama of choreography presented by the IV International Competition of Ballet Dancers in Moscow is a fertile ground for creative reflection and a foundation for follow-up work in many directions”.

Marina Semenova, Soviet ballet dancer, and teacher