Taiwanese choreographer Po-cheng Tsai (蔡博丞) was awarded first place for contemporary choreography in the Spanish city of Burgos on July 24, beating out six other competitors to cinch the 7,000 euros cash prize.
In the 14th edition of the Burgos-New York Choreographic Competition (El Certamen Internacional de Coreografía Burgos-Nueva York), judges presided over 311 submissions in four categories of dance - contemporary, hip-hop, vertical dance, and graffiti.
The preliminary accepted entries were 12 from contemporary, 7 from hip-hop, 3 from vertical, and 4 from graffiti. Tsai stood out from the final pool of 6 to win first place in the contemporary category with "Hugin / Munin.”
Tsai's winning dance performance was lauded by Ana Cabo, former artistic director of the Madrid International Dance Competition, as the best performance she has seen in 14 years.
"Hugin / Munin” is inspired by the story of the two ravens that accompany Odin, a god from Norse mythology. Hugin represents "thought” while "Munin” represents "memory.” Tsai conceptualized the story and deftly integrated martial arts into the 10-minute contemporary dance, in which two dancers are transformed into semi-autonomous ravens.
Special guest Marco Batti, artistic director of the Italian ballet group Balletto Di Siena, also awarded the 28-year-old choreographer with the Best Dance Group Production Prize, which offers Tsai the opportunity to create a new choreographic piece for the 2016 Danzainfiera in Firenze.
"Hugin / Munin” has also been entered in other competitions based in Spain, Germany, and Denmark, and will be making appearances at the 8th Copenhagen International Choreography Competition on Aug. 7 and 8, and the Masadanza Contemporary Dance Festival of the Canary Islands from Oct. 21 to 24.