More about the TUTU GRAND PRIX International Ballet & Choreography Competition
Ballet competitions in the world have a tradition of several decades, In our area the first one was organized in 1993. Considering the fact that Ballet is essentially connected with music, it was logical then to place the Ballet competition under Slovenian music schools society named TEMSIG – Competitions of young Slovenian musicians. Some of those were performed together with the Association of Ballet Artists of Slovenia (hereinafter DBUS) in the past.
From the very beginning, the desire was to hold a competition not only for soloists, but also in groups, as well as in categories intended for Ballet schools and departments with a basic curriculum that is used at the most Ballet departments of Slovenian music and private ballet schools, except at two Conservatories of Music and Ballet in Ljubljana and Maribor and in a few private ballet schools that teach according to the extended program. Especially because of the small size of our space and the modest number of actually talented young dancers, such a design of the ballet competition also contributes to a larger crowd and undoubtedly exposes a larger number of talented Slovenian ballet hopefuls who need serious professional attention in their further training and development. Such a form of competition has been nurtured for a long time, for example, in Vienna, but in our country, as part of the existing program, until the introduction of the TUTU ballet competition in 2016, we did not have such a competition. Until then, domestic ballet educational institutions could only present themselves with group choreographies at the annual magazine of classical ballet schools and societies, organized by DBUS, but not competitively.
The TUTU ballet competition ⌊initially the Slovenian ballet competition⌉ was created with the aim of establishing categories in which both soloists and groups can try out, as well as students of lower ballet schools with a basic and extended program, as well as students of secondary ballet schools and professional ballet dancers, the latter without age restrictions. The color of the categories at TUTU thus emphasizes the diversity not only of the formal structure of the competition, but also of the diversity of knowledge and skills of the candidates. Especially when it comes to students of lower ballet schools with a basic program, TUTU also provides a more detailed insight into the actual situation of young ballet students in all of Slovenia, whereby in the future the responsibility for their further educational process can be assumed primarily by both conservatories.
With the name TUTU, DBUS wanted to say that it is about ballet, with TUTU today it wants to connect both the Slovenian and international ballet space, schools, theaters into a unified body that can only boast of quality on the outside and proudly bears the name of Slovenian ballet.
In TUTU, DBUS has also decided to introduce meaningful recognition of evaluation as it is known in some foreign ballet competitions, where the individual member of the jury on the evaluation sheet, in addition to the final score, also forms a comprehensive professional opinion about the individual competitor, so it is clearly visible how he evaluated him. Mentors or teachers or competitors have the opportunity to view the evaluation sheets as soon as possible after the completion of each category of the competition. In addition, the jury does not agree on the scores of the contestants after the competition program is completed, it sits separately during the competition, two scores – the highest and the lowest – are deleted from the awarded points, and the rest of the awarded points are added up, and the total is divided by the number of remaining jurors. The results are published on the notice board as soon as possible after the completion of each category. The jury’s competence in collusion remains only in the case of special, additional and monetary prizes, and in the case when two or more competitors with the highest points achieve the same number of points, but does not change the points but only decides on the order of the first three, i.e. on the winner .
Nationally and internationally established professors and ballet artists are invited to the jury. During the years of international connections, DBUS enriched and expanded the network of cooperation throughout Europe by organizing gala concerts, including Gaudeamus ballet concerts, which opened up the possibility of a larger selection of jury members from the international circle. Slovenia is small, so the professional circle of ballet artists, both dancers and pedagogues, is particularly modest. We all know each other, so evaluation without emotions is actually almost impossible. This is precisely why, in addition to local judges, TUTU includes a majority of jurors from the international professional circle, which also opens up the opportunity for many dancers to study abroad and thus gain different experiences.
With the ever-increasing demands on the quality of knowledge of dancers in training in the world, an additional opportunity to show their knowledge is almost a necessity, and the TUTU GRAND PRIX ballet competition is an intermediate link. At summer schools, participants look for opportunities and information about participation in international competitions from foreign teachers. Therefore, when it comes to confirming the quality of professional ballet dancers as well as the acquired knowledge of young ballet dancers – those still in school, the ballet and choreography competition TUTU GRAND PRIX offers everyone an additional test. This is especially important for pupils and students who get the opportunity to step on stage only once, maybe twice a year, even though they are primarily trained to perform on ballet stages. Frequent performance on stage strengthens self-confidence, and with several trials both the technique and the artistic maturity and value of the dancer mature. That is why the set of variations and pas de deux in the TUTU GRAND PRIX competition is designed so that everyone can find something suitable for their knowledge and aspirations.
Today, we have two ballet competitions in Slovenia, namely Baltek as part of Temsig, which is national and offers a test mainly to pupils and students of domestic ballet educational institutions with an extended program and domestic professional ballet dancers in the solo categories, and the international TUTU GRAND PRIX, which offers a test to a much wider, both domestic and international circle of interested parties, and, unlike Baltek, also to students of ballet schools with a basic program and professional dancers in the category from 28 years of age, in the categories SOLO, PAS DE DEUX, GROUP and CHOREOGRAPHY. Anyway, both competitions are useful and even though the TUTU GRAND PRIX didn’t really want approval when it was born, saying, why do we need two ballet competitions in Slovenia, the purpose of both is clear today. Together, they represent an annual opportunity to test ballet dancers, Baltek for domestic dancers, and TUTU GRAND PRIX for both domestic and foreign dancers. In order for Slovenia to keep pace with the developed ballet world and follow international trends, thus offering even more to local dancers, the birth of an international ballet competition in Slovenia is even more important, as it represents the possibility of testing local and foreign dancers in international competition.

CHOREOGRAPHIC COMPETITION (Competition on Choreographic miniatures)
International Competition of Choreographic Miniatures & International Tutu Ballet Competition is the only international ballet competition organized in Slovenia. After organizing the First Competition of Choreographic Miniatures in 2014 and the first TUTU Slovenian Ballet Competition in 2016, in 2019, in honor of the 100th anniversary of Slovenian ballet, we at DBUS decided to combine both competitions into the TUTU International Ballet Competition & Competition of Choreographic Miniatures.
In the Slovenian cultural space, there is a lack of content that would enable both professional ballet artists and ballet dancers who are still studying to make an international comparison, which is an important force for tracking the development and criteria in the field of international ballet art, which has been developing extremely fast recently . In Slovenia, we have two outstanding national ballet ensembles, in which a considerable number of foreign dancers are employed. The question therefore arises, why and in which segments are foreign dancers better than domestic ones, so that they are preferred to be accepted into national ballet ensembles? The answer most likely lies precisely in the fact that at home we follow development trends too slowly and implement them late. From this point of view, the international ballet competition has a long-term positive impact on the development of domestic ballet art precisely in that our dancers will be able to test themselves in international competition and gain a clear picture of the position they occupy vis-à-vis the international ballet scene. The competition is therefore organized with a goal in mind, with the desire for a faster development of ballet art at home and timely tracking of development vis-à-vis international quality standards. Therefore, we hope that the international competition will stimulate activities for the improvement of the domestic ballet-educational system in particular, the goal of which must be the education of professional ballet dancers for the needs of national ballet ensembles. The expected goals of the international ballet competition are primarily aimed at ensuring a higher professional qualification of domestic ballet dancers and encouraging the domestic ballet-educational system to intervene in the urgently needed reorganization, especially due to the apparently low number of domestic ballet dancers accepted into national ensembles in the last 10 or more years .
The picture is quite similar from the point of view of domestic choreographic creativity, where the question of following choreographic trends in the international arena arises, as there are a very small number of successful choreographers working in the field of Slovenian ballet art, most of whom already have a developed choreographic language. This is precisely why it happens that young choreographers at the beginning of their choreographic journey, or rather trials, take too much inspiration from, for example, the highly successful and well-established Edward Clug, use predominantly Clug’s choreographic elements or style in their choreographies, and thus fail to create their own and unique choreographic language. From this point of view, we must offer young people a wider range of all possible choreographic directions and languages, which will encourage them to explore new choreographic forms in depth and to create their own choreographic language.
The international competition will allow testing in solo and group categories:
  • professional dancers,
  • pupils, students and students of ballet educational institutions,
  • students who study ballet as amateurs or in private ballet schools,
  • choreographers, already established and also those professional ballet artists who would like to try their hand at choreography,
  • in two choreographic categories called “encouraging one’s own creativity” for ballet dancers between the ages of 10 and 18,
  • to older ballet dancers from the age of 28, which makes Tutu currently the only international ballet competition that also offers the possibility of participation to dancers over the age of 27.
Competitors will compete in different categories suitable for their age and skills:
With categories XIII. and XIV. we want to encourage young people to start working in the field of ballet choreography as soon as possible.
What we want to achieve in the case of the Tutu competition is a unique competition in the diversity of categories, which will offer participation to all those interested, regardless of their age, knowledge and the structure of the institutions they come from.

The Slovenian ballet competition of choreographic miniatures was held for the first time in 2014, and it was created with the aim of motivating those domestic ballet artists who are either thinking about a career in the field of choreography, or are already trying their hand at it. The desire was clear: the discovery of local choreographic potential and the creation of a larger number of high-quality choreographic miniatures by local authors.
The Slovenian choreography miniatures competition was initially also connected to the Gala evenings of new ballet choreographies to Slovenian music, which were held every year until 2014 in the organization of the Society of Ballet Artists of Slovenia (DBUS). The purpose was clear, to choose the best choreographies and combine them in the program of the evening.
Although the interest of young choreographers in participating in the Gala evening programs of new ballet choreographies to Slovenian music was high, the evenings slowly lost popularity among the audience, despite the flood of interesting choreographies. We hoped that the combination of evenings, which are important for the discovery and development of domestic talents in the field of choreography and the choreography competition, will restore the popularity of the Gala with evenings of new ballet choreographies to Slovenian music. At the same time, the Slovenian choreographic miniatures competition is also supposed to ease the conditions that dictate to choreographers, for example, the selection of music, thereby leaving them a greater degree of their own choreographic imagination in connection with the music.
Although the response to the First Slovenian Competition of Choreographic Miniatures in 2014 was great, interest soon faded. The reason certainly lies in the fact that, unfortunately, not everyone can win in the competition, where the jury evaluates the originality and innovation of the choreographic expression, the inventive use of space, music and other scenic elements, stylistic uniformity, a high level of interpretation and implementation, and impression. However, taking into account the different views of the jurors on choreography and probably also tastes, the jury can certainly recognize one thing and that is the choreographic potential. Anyway, choreography is specific, the process of finding and developing one’s own choreographic language is long and every choreographer must submit to it.
After 2014, there were five more choreographic miniatures competitions, namely the second Slovenian choreographic miniatures competition in 2016, the third in 2017 and the fourth in 2018. In 2020, when the competition became international, the choreography miniatures competition was combined with the TUTU ballet competition , which was held online due to the new coronavirus pandemic. In 2021, the Competition of Choreographic Miniatures acquired two new categories, namely Choreography – encouraging one’s own creativity 10-14 years and Choreography – encouraging one’s own creativity 15-18 years. With them, we want to give interested parties as convenient a test as possible in the field of ballet choreography. In 2022, the Choreographic Miniatures Competition, like the TUTU Competition, became international.