Serious ballet students in Taiwan have faced an uphill battle for years in terms of getting enough class time and performance opportunities, even at the university level. Wu Ching-yin (吳青吟), founder and artistic director of the nine-year-old Taipei Royal Ballet (台北皇家芭蕾舞團), and her husband Hong Kang-jie (洪康捷) decided a competition would help inspire students to improve their technique. The 3rd National Ballet Competition is being held this weekend in Taipei for dancers ranging in age from 10 to 24. Eighty dancers from Taiwan, Hong Kong and Canada will by vying for cash prizes and certificates, ranging from NT$2,000 for an award of excellence up to NT$8,000 for the first place winners in each category. The actual competition tomorrow is not open to the public, but the prizewinners will perform for the public at two shows on Sunday in the theater at the Taipei Cement Building.
■ 3rd National Ballet Competition, Sunday at 2:30pm and 7:30pm at the Shih-ming Hall of the Taiwan Cement Building (台泥大樓士敏廳), 3F, 113 Zhongshan N Rd Sec 2, Taipei City (北市中山北路二段113號3樓).
■ Tickets are NT$600 and NT$800, available at the NTCH box office or online at www.artsticket.com.tw. Only NT$800 seats are left for the matinee performance