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Americans Making Mark in International Ballet Competition

June 28, 1990

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) _ Seven Americans have a chance to become one of the wonders of the international ballet world.

They are among 27 finalists dancing toward that dream in the third round of the International Ballet Competition.

The international jury will anounce prize winners in four divisions on Friday. Winners will receive gold, silver and bronze medals and cash awards from $500 to $10,000.

The U.S. finalists are three senior women, three junior women and one senior man.

″I feel great, knowing I represent the U.S. male population,″ Mark Arvin. ″But still, it’s a real tough competition with the Cuban, the Russians and the guy from Argentina. I expect them to capture a lot of medals.″

But Arvin’s favorite fact is that his partner, U.S. senior Martha Butler, also made it to the finals. ″There are only three couples still intact″ since the first round, Arvin said. ″That’s an achievement.″

″I’m thrilled,″ said Butler, 23. ″I feel so fortunate.″

″It’s been tough, but a different kind of tough - not like anything I’ve known before,″ she said of the competition. ″There’s a lot of pressure.″

The United States had 36 competitors in the competition.

In addition to Arvin and Butler, both with the Houston Ballet, the other U.S. finalists are: Lauren Anderson, 25, of the Houston Ballet; Yan Chen, 20, an apprentice with the Washington Ballet; Elizabeth Gaither, 16, of the Houston Ballet; Lauren Gelfand, 15, of Cambridge, Mass.; and Diane Perez, 15, who dances with the Ballet Concierto de Puerto Rico.

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