Winners of the International Ballet Competition Varna 2016

Two Canadian dance partners have won silver in one of the world’s most renowned ballet competitions.

Saeka Shirai and Yue Shi both took silver medals in the women’s and men’s category respectively, at the 27th International Ballet Competition Varna, with Shirai becoming the first Canadian woman to place in the competition since Fei Fei Ye won a third class distinction in 2006.

The dancers performed two modern pieces, Blushing and Numa, at the competition in Bulgaria.

Shirai, who is of Japanese descent and has performed with the Royal Winnipeg Ballet in prestigious productions such as Romeo and Juliet and Peter Pan, said ‘It feels like a dream. I can’t believe it’.

She also added, that despite her extensive experience, she was ‘’very nervous’, but had ‘so much fun’ with her partner, the Chinese-born Yue Shi, also an apprentice of the Royal Winnipeg Ballet, and an award-winning ballet dancer in competitions in Moscow, Seoul, and Jackson, Mississippi, as well as a previous Gold medal winner in IBC Varna, at the last competition in 2014.

Elizabeth Logan