Hattiesburg teen competing in USA International Ballet Competition

Hattiesburg teen taking part in ballet competition
Published: Jun. 8, 2023 at 4:28 PM CDT
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HATTIESBURG, Miss. (WDAM) - A Hattiesburg teen will be competing this weekend in the 12th USA International Ballet Competition in Jackson.

16-year-old Alexei Orohovshy will be competing Sunday night. He is believed to be one of the few dancers in Mississippi to have ever competed in this competition.

Alexei’s parents, Katya and Arkadiy Orohovsky, are the founders and teachers at the South Mississippi Ballet Theatre in Hattiesburg, where Alexei grew up.

While Alexei said he has been competing in ballet competitions since he was nine, his parents said he has been dancing since before he was born.

“Yeah, I was still performing when I was pregnant,” said Katya.

His parents said they encouraged him to try out for different activities when he was younger, but Alexei said his exposure to ballet intrigued him.

“I think, just over time, I realized more and more that I wanted to do it because I saw it,” said Alexei. “I think from the very beginning, it was always something kind of connection with me.”

His parents would notice his interest in competitions at an early age. His father said Alexei first said he wanted to participate in completion when he was six years old.

“When he was little, we were always competing, technically,” said Arkadiy. “And then, eventually, he started winning technical aspects, but we’re still laughing about that.”

Alexei automatically qualified for IBC after he won the Youth America Grand Prix award for the junior category last year.

“USA International Competition happens once every four years, and so this is the first year I have been eligible to compete, and thankfully I did,” Alexei said.

“It’s wonderful. I’m super excited, and it’s been great so far, and I can’t wait for the rest of it.”

Alexei will be competing on Sunday in the junior men’s category.

“As parents, we’re extremely proud of him for getting to where he is, but also as teachers, like, I feel like he represents the state really well,” Katya said.

IBC officials said 119 dancers were invited to compete this year. The 12th opening ceremony will be Saturday, and the competition will run through June 24.

Tickets for the competition can be bought on the USA International Ballet Competition’s website.

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