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The 2nd edition of the Budapest Ballet Grand Prix (BBGP) is coming up. It will be organised by the Hungarian Dance University between 18 and 22 November 2024.  Last year, 26 countries took part in the competition, with many international success, but Hungary, the host country, also did well.

We have interviewed two students who are expected to perform very well at the BBGP. Kamill Kökény-Hámori and Janka Dobra are just graduating from the university, but they are already dancing leading roles at the Hungarian State Opera House.

Photos by Pál Csillag

This fact alone is worth a conversation with the young artists, but it is also worth noting that Kamill and Janka are currently preparing for their exam concert. They took the time for this interview at a very tight time, which we appreciate very much.

You are active students at the Hungarian Dance University, but you have danced the lead role in the Opera’s production of The Little Prince. In the meantime, you are preparing for the end of your studies, the performance at the Opera on 23 June. How do you combine your university work with the Opera?

D.J.) It is a great pleasure for us to have this opportunity and we are very grateful for it. In fact, we did not have any difficulties during the rehearsal process, as our ballet teacher, Master Radina Dace, was very flexible with us and we could always adapt the rehearsals to our academic schedule. Of course it is a busy time before the exam concert, but in everyday life it is more of a motivation.

(K.H.K.) We have been given a great opportunity by director Tamás Solymosi, for which we are very grateful. Fortunately, the coordination was smooth and the rehearsals were held in a very good atmosphere. We work a lot, but it always makes sense.

In the meantime, you are preparing for the exam concert. What will the performance be like?

(K.H.K.) It consists of three acts. The first act is an arrangement of Don Quixote, where I dance the role of Basil, a poor barber, but all the more charming, always flirting with the girls. The second act is composed of various ballet pieces and dances by choreographers.

(D.J.) The last act is choreographed by András Lukács, entitled The Vortex. It will be a very colourful and I think exciting evening. It is a challenge for the whole class. In three parts we will show what we have learned over the last nine years.

Why do you think the upcoming Budapest Ballet Grand Prix is important?

(D.J.) It’s a great opportunity to learn and improve. I believe that learning never ends in dance. That is why I want to do well in the competition and say goodbye to Alma Mater. I hope I will succeed.

(K.H.K ) I have gained a lot of experience in the past years thanks to the Hungarian Dance University. I have had the chance to participate in many performances, work with great international masters and now, the 2nd Budapest Ballet Grand Prix is another opportunity, this time a final one. We would like to show what we have learned here in nine years, because I think we have learned a lot. There is always room for improvement and learning. Even from a competition like this. Because it’s not just about the competition, it’s about networking and development.