Skip to content

Tsawwassen teen wins 1st place at prestigious international ballet competition

Emma Tomlinson had multiple successes at the International Ballet Grand Prix Vienna
Emma Tomlinson with Goh
Tsawwassen’s Emma Tomlinson (right), pictured with Director of Goh Ballet Academy Chan Hon Goh, recently placed 1st at the prestigious International Ballet Grand Prix Vienna.

Aspiring ballerina Emma Tomlinson says she is incredibly grateful to have still had the opportunity to compete internationally during a global pandemic.

The grade 10 student from Tsawwassen competed virtually at the International Ballet Grand Prix Vienna at the end of October and secured 1st place in the Classical category, ages 14-16, for her Swanhilda Act I Valse variation from the ballet Coppélia.

“We prepare for it the same way we would prepare for any competition that was in-person. I started learning this variation in, probably, February, and we did the same rehearsal process,” explains Tomlinson.

After months of intense preparation, they filmed the performance.

“We were able to rent a theatre stage to use, and then we filmed the variation as if I was performing it in-person, and then we had to submit it to the competition,” she says.

“It was quite different not being able to perform for a live audience in front of the judges. We all focused on trying to perform as if we were dancing for a live audience, like, still trying to really tell the story and project to the audience that would be there. You almost have to be even more exaggerated with your movements because you’re on camera – sometimes, the camera can’t pick up those little details that judges would be able to see in person.”

Tomlinson, who is from the Goh Ballet Academy, also placed 2nd in the Contemporary category, ages 8-18, for her solo “Waiting ... I Finally Fall” and received a special award for her outstanding execution of the performance.

She gives thanks to Goh Ballet for getting her into competitions, despite all the challenges that the pandemic has brought, as they’re one of the main ways to make yourself visible on the international stage.

This year’s International Ballet Grand Prix Vienna had 193 competitors submit performances from across 23 countries. It was open to professional dancers and dance students between the ages of 8 to 27, reads the press release from Goh Ballet Academy.

Winners were decided among 12 judges from Asia, Europe and North America.

“Since 1978, Vancouver, Canada has been home to Goh Ballet, a vibrant, innovative and diverse dance organization,” reads their press release.