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National Ballet of Canada corps de ballet dancers Shino Mori, left, and Naoya Ebe will represent the company for the 2011 Erik Bruhn Prize in March. ((Sian Richards/National Ballet of Canada) )

Shino Mori and Naoyo Ebe, both members of the National Ballet of Canada corps de ballet, will compete for the Erik Bruhn Prize this March.

The competition, named after the ballet icon who died in 1986, showcases the talents of young dancers from companies associated with Bruhn, including the American Ballet Theatre, the Royal Ballet, Royal Danish Ballet and Canada's National Ballet.

A National Ballet second soloist, Robert Stephen, will create a new work to compete for the choreographic prize in the competition, to be held in March in Toronto.

Japanese-born dancer Mori trained at the National Ballet School in Toronto and was a winner at the Prix de Lausanne in 2006. She joined the corps de ballet in 2009 and has danced the Canary Fairy in The Sleeping Beauty and roles in Swan Lake, Onegin, The Nutcracker  and Glass Pieces

Ebe, also born in Japan and trained at the National Ballet School, has been a member of the corps de ballet since 2007.

He has danced in the roles of Bluebird in The Sleeping Beauty, A Fox and Mouse Tsar in The Nutcracker and The Fool in Swan Lake.

They will compete with:

  • Christine Shevchenko and Joseph Gorak from American Ballet Theatre.
  • Maria Baranova and Alexandr Trusch from Hamburg Ballet.
  • Shelby Elsbree and Jon Axel Fransson from the Royal Danish Ballet.
  • Elisa Badenes and Daniel Camargo from Stuttgart Ballet.

Judges for the awards are Karen Kain, artistic director of the National Ballet, and Kevin McKenzie of American Ballet Theatre, John Neumeier of Hamburg Ballet, Reid Anderson of Stuttgart Ballet and Silja Schandorff of the Royal Danish Ballet.

Winners of the Erik Bruhn prize often go on to be principal dancers in their companies.

Danish dancer and choreographer Bruhn — who was a longtime collaborator with the National Ballet of Canada and served as its artistic director from 1983 until his death in 1986 — bequeathed part of his estate to establish the prize.

Awarded sporadically since its establishment in 1988, his namesake prize is given to one male and one female dancer who "reflect such technical ability, artistic achievement and dedication as [Bruhn] endeavoured to bring to dance."