For those of you who can’t wait until the next Eurovision – surprise! It’s happening this week in Gdansk! But in this one, there are just 10 countries, there’s no live singing, all contestants are between the ages of 16 and 21, and they’re all performing ballet. There is also a severe lack of pyrotechnics, and the wind is actually created by body movement, not wind machines.
It’s the Eurovision Young Dancers contest! Never heard of it? It started in 1985 and has been held every two years, showcasing Europe’s talented ballet dancers. It took a break from 2005-2011 for the Eurovision Dance Contest, an ill-fated contest for dance pairs which was cancelled due to a lack of interest.
So how does it actually work? Here are the rules and format for this year’s competition:
- Participants must be aged between 16 and 21 years old, and not be professionally engaged
- Each act performs a solo act that they have prepared in advance of the competition in any style they choose
- Each act is then part of a group dance which is choreographed during ‘Young Dancers Week’ by an independent, professional dancer
- Two acts are selected to the final round by the jury, where they must perform a spontaneous dance
- The jury chooses a winner from the final two
If you still can’t quite picture what it’s like, here are the highlights from the 2011 competition in Oslo:
And a preview of Kristóf Szabó’s rehearsal, representing Poland this year:
You can (maybe) catch it on an EBU broadcaster this Friday or online at the Eurovision Young Dancers official website.
James Longbotham contributed this report from Germany. Follow him on Twitter at @jimk1n.