The All Stars of Dance serves as the grand finale of the weeklong World Ballet Competition.
But founder Vasile Petrutiu stresses that the dance gala is more than ballet. In fact, it’s more than dance.
Among the performers at this year’s event, Saturday in Orlando’s Bob Carr Performing Arts Centre, are local aerialists Christye Alan and Chris Galen of Metropolis Productions.
“To me, to go 20 feet in the air and the do that is crazy,” Petrutiu says of the aerial act. “But everybody loves it.”
Also on tap is the Connecticut-based troupe Momix, which artistic director Moses Pendleton describes as consisting of “dancer-illusionists.”
“They are known all over the world,” says Petrutiu. He asked Momix back for its third appearance at the 8-year-old event because it has proven a real crowd-pleaser.
“It’s something, like, wow!” Petrutiu says. “It’s a bit like Cirque du Soleil but different. It’s very ingenious and creative.”
Other performers include Cuban dancers Rolando Sarabia and Venus Villa; Daniel Ulbricht, a soloist and principal dancer with the New York City Ballet; and Shelby Elsbree of Boston Ballet
Both Ulbricht and Elsbree have Florida ties: He hails from St. Petersburg, she’s a native of Sarasota.
Petrutiu will also welcome back three ballerinas who trained at Central Florida Ballet in Orlando, where he’s executive director. Abigail Cotter of Colorado Ballet in Denver, Meredith Harrill of State Street Ballet in Santa Barbara, Calif.; and JoAnna Schmidt of Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre will return for the gala.
“All these girls we’ve known since they were basically 5 years old,” Petrutiu says. “Now they’re professionals.”
Ukrainian choreographer Viktor Plotnikov, an award-winning former ballet master for Boston Ballet, will create a new work for the three Central Florida Ballet alumni to debut at the All Stars of Dance.
“These are the top people in the world,” Petrutiu says.
The gala’s invited guests are joined by the winners of the competition, which takes place in nightly rounds leading up to Saturday’s performance. The public can watch each night’s competition, which is set up Olympic-style. A panel of judges grades each dancer on artistry and technique. The dancer with the most points wins.
Scores are announced immediately so the audience can keep track of their favorites.
Having the winners perform with well-known dancers boosts the energy at the All Stars of Dance, Petrutiu says.
“The winners are sharing the stage with these big names,” he says. “They know who they are. It’s just pure excitement for them.”
The competition has increasingly seen its profile rise around the world. For the past three years, a preliminary competition has taken place in Romania, Petrutiu’s native country. In the fall, a similar contest will take place in San Juan, Puerto Rico, with the backing of the government there. Panama is also interested in hosting a preliminary round, Petrutiu said, and South Korea, Singapore and Japan are also under consideration for future contests.
“We are in a good place,” he says. “These others are kind of regional competitions. But here is always the finals.”
Petrutiu hopes the competition and the All Stars of Dance help put Orlando on the map for more than its theme parks.
“Orlando is known for Universal and Mickey Mouse,” he says. “But this brings people from all over the world — for the arts.”
All Stars of Dance
• What: Performance of ballet, other dance and aerial arts
• Where: Bob Carr Performing Arts Centre, 401 W. Livingston St., Orlando
• When: 7:30 p.m. June 14
• Tickets: $25-$100
• What else: Final competition round begins at 5:30 p.m. Friday, June 13, at the Bob Carr. Tickets are $10
• Online: worldballetcompetition.com
All Stars of Dance, World Ballet Competition in Orlando