World Ballet Competition Continues in Orlando - Arts Win over Violence

Josh Garrick's picture

Publisher's note: Today, in Orlando, there are 170 young people coming from 20 countries, speaking 12 different languages. They are coming to compete in the World Ballet Competition. And while it is breaking our hearts to face this tragedy, we can't let that overcome the beauty in life. We welcome these young dancers, as they are the ones that will bring us forward.


This is the official statement from the World Ballet Competition. It was written by our Florida Arts Editor, Josh Garrick 


Those of us who care about the Arts, Education, Freedom and the Rights of all Mankind will never comprehend the levels of hatred and cowardice exemplified in the deaths and injuries to so many citizens of Orlando. The final determination of whether it was an act of terrorism by a jihadist group or a cowardly act of hatred means nothing to those who were killed or injured. WE DO KNOW that such an inexplicable act serves as an attack on our values, our freedom, and all we hold dear in our lives. 

As I write this, 50 people are dead and 53 people are wounded in the worst mass shooting in American history. Law enforcement officials are calling it an act of terrorism. A state of emergency has been called for both the City of Orlando and all of Orange County. The gunman was Omar Mir Seddique Mateen, 29, an American citizen living in Port St. Lucie, Florida, AND HE is DEAD. 

This barbarity leaves countless friends and families suffering from grief and distress. Messages of healing and compassion are coming from every country in the world as we face the week-long joys and sorrows of the World Ballet Competition. 

World Ballet Competition Continues in Orlando - Arts Win over Violence

Today’s first order of business for the Producers of the World Ballet Competition has been to meet with law enforcement and security to follow up on every measure to protect YOU – our young dancers and YOUR families. Please know this represents talks on the highest of levels. Security for the World Ballet Competition is mobilized at the “highest capability level.”

At this time, when tears have their place, strength, courage and determination speak louder than ever before. YOU KNOW it takes extraordinary strength, courage and determination to BECOME A PROFESSIONAL DANCER in the world today. 

As we begin the week-long competition, we will pull together and compete – each of us drawing from reserves of strength that will teach us one more life lesson. 

World Ballet Competition Continues in Orlando - Arts Win over Violence

Today ORLANDO needs YOU. While we acknowledge that for many of you, this is your first trip to the United States – we need your youth, your talent and your courage, because TODAY YOUR TALENT IS OUR STATEMENT OF WORLD-WIDE TRIUMPH OVER BARBARISM. Never before has your talent made such an important statement. 

Before you made the decision to come here – before you made the decision to work harder than ever for this chance to show the world your talent -- each one of you had a teacher who explained that competing will teach you lessons and bring you further as a dancer than you ever could rehearsing in the studios of your homeland. 

IMAGINE – before you go on-stage at the WORLD BALLET COMPETITION– each of your variations is a statement to the WORLD -- 

“ART will win.” 

“KNOWLEDGE is valuable.” 

“TRUTH brings light to bigotry.” 

World Ballet Competition Continues in Orlando - Arts Win over Violence

As you PERFORM, the strength YOU bring to the stage gives HOPE to the City of Orlando and to the United States. 

Your ARTISTRY upholds ALL we hold dear. 

Your ARTISTRY exemplifies the values of civilization

We thank you for accepting the added challenge and responsibility your talent requires of you this week.

In return, we promise you an experience from which you will learn and grow –  in a WORLD BALLET COMPETITION you will never forget. 



Josh Garrick is the Florida Arts Editor for Wandering Educators, and is the co-producer of this event