The award, given every other year, is awarded to a young dancer of the Finnish National Ballet.
Clark Eselgroth, dancer of the Finnish National Ballet, has received the Outi and Jan Vapaavuori Foundation Dance Prize. Eselgroth received the €5,000 prize on the stage in connection with the performance of Christmas Carol on Saturday 16 December.
The award was presented by Outi Vapaavuori , Chairman of the Committee, and Javier Torres, Artistic Director of the Finnish National Ballet. In addition to Vapaavuori and Torres, the jury consisted of star dancer Tiina Myllymäki and ballet master in charge Ingrid Němečková.
According to the jury’s reasoning, 21-year-old Clark Eselgroth is a very mature dancer for his age, who has developed rapidly in his career and demonstrated his ability to take on challenging roles. Eselgroth approaches her work as a dancer with humility and passion, dedicating herself to her career. She has also demonstrated her skills in contemporary dance works alongside her mastery of classical ballet. Eselgroth is an exemplary member of the work community both in ballet classes and in rehearsals for works.
Clark Eselgroth joined the Finnish National Ballet’s youth company in 2021, from where he moved to the main company this year. She completed her ballet studies at the Royal Ballet School in London 2018–2021, the International Ballet Academy in North Carolina, USA, 2014–2018, and the Asheville Ballet Conservatory 2010–2014. At the Finnish National Ballet, Eselgroth has danced in the lead role as Scrooge in Christmas Carol and John de Bryan in the ballet Raymonda , as well as in soloist roles in contemporary dance productions Messa da Requiem (choreographer Christian Spuck), Clique (Reija Wäre), Over Glow (Jorma Elo) and A Collection of Connections (Kristian Lever). Eselgroth will next play Romeo in the ballet Romeo and Juliet.
The prize of the Outi and Jan Vapaavuori Foundation, which is awarded every two years, was now awarded for the third time. The prize can be awarded to a dancer under the age of 25 of the Finnish National Ballet who has demonstrated unique talent in both classical ballet and contemporary dance. The recipient must be a valued employee in their own work community and a good representative of the Finnish National Ballet both in Finland and abroad, regardless of their nationality. The prize has been awarded to Atte Kilpinen in 2019 and Violetta Keller in 2021.