A 14-year-old from Philadelphia, Katherine Healy, won a gold medal in last week's junior women's competition at Varna, Bulgaria, site of the most prestigious ballet contest in the world, according to reports from Varna. It is believed to be the first gold won by an American there since 1974, when Fernando Bujones came away with the honor.
Healy, who has studied with the School of American Ballet--the New York City Ballet's academy--and performed with an ice show, was featured as the dying child Niki in last year's movie "Six Weeks" with Dudley Moore and Mary Tyler Moore. She won an award at the Jackson, Miss., international ballet competition last year.
Healy has been a fixture at major Manhattan ballet performances--her family is known for purchasing front-row seats for the New York City Ballet and for the American Ballet Theatre so that she can observe the performances close up.
Tied for the gold was a Soviet ballerina, Margarita Kullik, who dances with the Kirov Ballet. An even higher award was given to a dancer from the Paris Opera Ballet, Sylvie Guillem, according to reports.
As a result of her victory, Healy already has been signed to join a cross-country U.S. tour of dancers later this summer headed by Soviet defectors Valentina and Leonid Koslov, a spokesman for the Koslovs, Akiva Talmi, said.
Healy has told friends in New York that she wants to join the American Ballet Theatre and to dance with its artistic director, Mikhail Baryshnikov, who won a gold medal at Varna in 1966.
Bonnie Moore of the Washington Ballet won a bronze medal in the competition this year.