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Japanese ballet dancers shine at Moscow int'l competition

Men's junior group gold medalist Mark Chino dances at the Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow, on June 19, 2017. (Mainichi)

MOSCOW -- Japanese dancer Koya Okawa is expected to win the gold medal in the men's senior group at the XIII Moscow International Ballet Competition after a performance on June 19 at the Bolshoi Theatre here, according to sources.

    The 25-year-old dancer's partner Midori Terada, 24, will take the bronze medal in the women's senior group. Russian-Japanese dancer Mark Chino, 18, also won gold in the men's junior group. The only other Japanese dancer to ever achieve gold in the men's senior group was Morihiro Iwata in 1993.

    The results of the final judging were set to be officially announced during the night of June 19, but were postponed immediately beforehand, with the results coming from several sources close to the competition. It has been reported that the official announcement was delayed as Russian President Vladimir Putin was set to attend the gala performance of the winners on June 20th.

    Okawa and Terada have been dancing together since attending Moscow's Bolshoi Ballet Academy. After graduating in 2011, they joined the Odessa National Academic Theatre of Opera and Ballet in southern Ukraine. Following the chaos of the 2014 crisis in Ukraine, the pair moved to the Tatar State Academic Opera and Ballet Theatre in Kazan, central Russia, where they both perform as soloists.

    Senior group gold medal winner Koya Okawa, left, and bronze winner Midori Terada perform at the Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow, on June 19, 2017. (Mainichi)

    During their final performance on June 19, Okawa and Terada performed the classic "Diana and Actaeon," wowing the audience with Okawa's dynamic spins and Terada's delicate movements.

    Mark Chino, who won gold in the men's junior group, is the son of Japanese Ballet Russes ballerina Masami Chino and a Russian father. Chino will graduate from the Bolshoi Ballet Academy this month and aim to become a professional dancer.

    The competition, called one of the three major ballet competitions in the world, began in Moscow in 1969. Held once every four years, it is often referred to as "the Olympics of ballet." Aside from Iwata's gold medal in 1993, Misa Kuranaga won gold in the women's junior group in 2001, and many Japanese dancers have taken silver medals. This year's competition ran from June 11, with approximately 160 dancers and choreographers from roughly 30 countries participating.

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