The 2015 Jury
A man who needs no introduction, Jiří Bubeníček is one of the most renowned Czech dancers. He sits on this year’s jury in his home country representing the contemporary dance element.
A Czech citizen born in Lubin in 1974, Jiří Bubeníček studied dance at the Prague Dance Conservatory. In 1992, he received an award at the Prix de Lausanne, an international competition for young dancers, and made his professional debut in 1993 with John Neumeier's Hamburg Ballet. From there he was promoted to soloist in 1995, and then Principal Dancer in 1997 - with Neumeier creating Vaclav Nijinsky in “Nijinsky” especially for Jiří! The ballet was received with enormous success and has been tour in all over the world.
In 2006 Jiří went on to become the Principle dancer at the Semperoper Ballet in Dresden, and over the past years has been a guest Principle dancer with many of Europe’s leading companies, including the Opéra national de Paris.
In addition to dancing, Jiří has also choreographed his own works, such as: “Toccata” for the New York City Ballet, "Le Souffle de l´Esprit" for the Zurich Ballet, ”Unerreichbare Orte" for the Hamburg Ballet, “Die Innere Stimme” for the Dresden Semperoper Ballet, “Outrenoir” for the China National Ballet, and "Graffity" for the Laterna Magika in Prague among many, many others.
In May 2009 Jiří, together with his twin brother Otto, created “Bubeníček and Friends” - a performance at the National Theater in Prague which was a huge success. In “Les Ballets Bubeníček” put on three shows, with five of Jiří’s choreographies and 16 dancers, in the Semperoper Dresden, Hamburg Ballet and Paris Opera, before performing a three hour long show in Japan’s most renowned theatre, the Bunkamura Orchard Hall in Tokyo.
The twins were also the subject of a 2005 documentary film by German television station ‘Arte’, entitled "Die Ballett-Zwillinge" (“The Ballet Twins”).
Alexandra ‘Spicey’ Landé
Representing the modern-dance strand in this year’s jury is a real star of hip-hop in her homeland.
Alexandra ‘Spicey’ Landé hails from Montreal in Canada, and brings with her a wealth of experience in hip-hop choreography and performance from over a decade in the industry.
Vibrating to the sounds of Janet Jackson, Alexandra ‘Spicey’ Landé’s love for street dance began in 1986. She has studied and taught Hip-Hop dance for over 12 years at established dance studios across Montreal, Canada, and is a well known choreographer and artistic director in the province of Quebec.
In 2005, she launched Unkut Productions - an entertainment company specialising in producing shows and events. The first fruit of this production was “Bust a Move”, a street dance convention held once a year, that unites Montreal and some of the worlds best street dancers in a friendly competitive atmosphere.
Spicey has a major influence on Montreal’s street dance scene and is recognised as an expert in her field. Her understanding of the Hip hop culture is admirably portrayed in all of her work and through the years she has developed a unique choreography style pushing hip hop dance to new limits.
Spicey sights her mission as to improve the creative process of hip-hop dance by taking more risks to reach a deeper level of understanding of theatrical expression, and to discover new avenues where emotions are portrayed through movement.
Through her work as a choreographer, Spicey has also put on several well-renowned theatre shows in Canada, such as the 45 minute ‘Renezance', and the 55 minute performance ‘Retrospek’.
A former winner of Eurovision Young Dancers returns to the competition 22 years later, but this time she will be sat at the judge’s table!
Zenaida Yanowsky is a Spanish ballet dancer, who was born in Lyon (France) in 1975. Her parents, Russian ballet dancer Anatol Yanowsky and Spanish ballet dancer Carmen Robles, were both dancers with the Lyon Opera Ballet, although the family later went on to settle in Las Palmas, Gran Canaria, where Zenaida’s parents founded a dance school. Given these facts, it is unsurprising that Zenaida would go to on have a very successful career as a dancer.
In her early years, Zenaida - along with her siblings - took dance classes at her parents’ school, before at age 14 she decided to become a professional dancer.
Having won the silver at the Varna International Ballet Competition in 1991, Zenaida received an invitation to audition for the Paris Opera Ballet and, having been successful, joined the company that year. In 1993 she took part in this very event, Eurovision Young Dancers, winning top prize, before going on to take gold in the 1994 Jackson International Ballet Competition. In the autumn of 1994, having left the Paris Opera Ballet earlier on in the year, she joined the Royal Ballet in London - and was made Principal Dancer in 2001.
In June 2002 Zenaida performed the "Black Swan" pas de deux with Roberto Bolle at Buckingham Palace, as part of the 'Prom at the Palace’ event to celebrate the Golden Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II; while in 2003 she was voted as the Best Female Dancer at the Critics' Circle National Dance Awards, and 2005 Dancer of the Year by readers of Dance Europe magazine.
In addition to dancing, Zenaida has worked with many contemporary choreographers. In the Royal Ballet's 2006/07 season, she created a role in Christopher Wheeldon's DGV: danse a grande vitesse and Anna II in the new production of the The Seven Deadly Sins by Will Tuckett. In the 2007/08 season, she worked with Wheeldon again and created a role in Electric Counterpoint. Zenaida also created the role of Paulina in Christopher Wheeldon's 2014 ballet The Winter's Tale.
Zenaida is also featured in the short dance films Duet and the Sandman ( Directed by The Brothers Quay and Will Tuckett, and Choreographed by Will Tuckett for Channel 4 in the United Kingdom).