March 8, 2011
JOSEPH GORAK WINS ERIK BRUHN PRIZE
Joseph Gorak, a member of American Ballet Theatre’s corps de ballet, was named best male dancer at the Ninth International Competition for the Erik Bruhn Prize, held in Toronto on Saturday, March 5, 2011.
Gorak and corps de ballet member Christine Shevchenko danced the pas de deux from August Bournonville’s La Sylphide and Divergent Connectivity, a contemporary work choreographed by ABT corps de ballet member Nicola Curry. Curry competed for the Choreographic Prize, which was added to the competition in 2009.
A native of Fort Wayne, Indiana, Gorak began his classical ballet training with North Central School of Ballet in Texas. He studied under full scholarships at summer programs with American Ballet Theatre, Orlando Ballet and School of American Ballet. In 2004, Gorak trained at the Orlando Ballet School and, in 2005, joined Orlando Ballet, then under the direction of Fernando Bujones. He won the silver medal in the senior men’s division at the 2005 Helsinki International Ballet Competition, the gold medal in the senior men’s division at the 2005 Youth American Grand Prix Finals, and the Grand Prix Award at the 2006 YAGP Finals. Gorak joined ABT II in 2006, became an apprentice with the main Company in January 2009 and joined the corps de ballet in January 2010. His roles with the Company include the Neapolitan dance in Swan Lake and the Chinese dance in Alexei Ratmansky’s The Nutcracker.
The International Competition for the Erik Bruhn Prize was conceived by Erik Bruhn prior to his death in 1986. A leading male dancer of his generation and former Artistic Director of the National Ballet of Canada, Bruhn established the competition for the encouragement and recognition of young dancers. The prize is awarded to two dancers, one male and one female, between the ages of 18 and 23. The 2011 competitors for the Erik Bruhn Prize represented The National Ballet of Canada, American Ballet Theatre, Royal Danish Ballet, Stuttgart Ballet and Hamburg Ballet.