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Local Teen Selected for World Ballet Championships


BRADENTON -- Bradenton local Matthew Griffin has been selected as a contestant in the 2014 USA International Ballet Competition, scheduled for June 14-29 in Jackson, Miss. The 17 year-old will be competing among 97 dancers from around the world for scholarships, cash awards and medals through the USA IBC's three rounds of competition.


Griffin attends the School of Russian Ballet, located in University Park, where this year alone he performed principal roles in such productions as The Nutcracker, The Little Mermaid and Coppelia.

The event, which is designated as the official international ballet competition in the United States by a joint resolution of Congress, is held every four years and showcases the best ballet talent the world has to offer.

Griffin will initially perform variations from the classical repertoire as a contestant in the event's junior division. To prepare, he has immersed himself in ongoing training. Griffin dances six days a week, Monday through Saturday, and practices his variations back-to-back in order to build up stamina for the contest, in addition to weight-lifting and other similar physical training. 

For Griffin, however, winning is not the most important thing to gain from this opportunity.

“I hope to gain exposure, enjoy the friendship, collaboration and camaraderie with other dancers and have the opportunity to showcase my training and talent to the choreographers and other influential people within the dance community,” Griffin said.

The USA IBC has a rigorous selection process which requires that the dancers submit written entries and performance videos from the classical repertoire. Griffin was chosen out of nearly 300 applicants by a world-renowned group of dance professionals.

"Being among the dancers selected to compete in the USA IBC is a tremendous accomplishment," said Sue Lobrano, USA IBC executive director. "The dancers selected exemplify the highest caliber of artistry and technical skills." 

The USA IBC is an Olympic-style competition lasting for two weeks, during which tomorrow's stars contend for gold, silver and bronze medals, as well as cash awards, scholarships, and company contracts.

“It is a huge honor for me to be a competitor in the USA IBC,” said Griffin. “Not only am I getting the opportunity to represent my country, but I’m also getting the opportunity to represent myself and my training. It feels incredible.”


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