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"A Life for Dance"

Each year at the Gala Performances, the Festival bestows the “A Life for Dance” award, celebrating the remarkable contributions of legendary figures in the dance world. Selected by the IBFM artistic director and a panel of festival advisors, this Lifetime Achievement Award honors the extraordinary careers and lasting legacies of some of the most renowned ballet dancers, choreographers, and directors globally.

“A Life for Dance”

Lifetime Achievement Award

Statuette created by

David Camorlinga Tagle

David Camorlinga was born January 20 , 1983 in Mexico. He studied at the National University of Mexico, School of Architecture, and his fount of inspiration comes from nature and observing people. One of his biggest influences was the master of Mexican architecture, Pedro Ramirez Vazquez from whom he learned about the roots of the pre-hispanic Mexico and collaborated with him for five years. Mr. Camorlinga also finds inspiration from architecture, graphic design, sculpture and landscape painting and has a very diverse academic background. He has traveled in different parts of the world: Italy,France, England, Spain, New York, Chicago, Canada, India, and of course in his native Mexico, where he visited museums and absorbed the culture.

Mr. Camorlinga's work has been displayed  at multiple institutions and galleries, among them, the Leopoldo Flores University Museum, (November 2012 - January 2013), The Modern Art Museum of Mexico City (Mexico Live Foundation, September 26, 2012), The 41st edition of the International Festival of Cervantino (October 9- 27 2013), In Camera de Diputado (November 26, 2013), the Monterrey Campus of Technology, Santa Fe (March 5, - April 5 2013), the University of Anahuac South Mexico (24 October -November 25), in the 8th International Symposium of Art & Design, National University of Mexico (November 13 - 15 2012)  the Israeli Sport Center (June 30 - July 31, 2013), Museum of Modern Art of Toluca (Subasta Encorazona2 November 26, 2013), Aqua Hotel (February 11 - March 20 -, 2014), Chicago Gallery "La Llorona" (March 2014), Contemporary Mexican Cultural Center (April 10 - May 20), GMC Cadillac Agency Tollocan (May 22 - June 30, 2014), San Carlos Academy ( August 7 - 28, 2914), Soumaya Museum (November 21 - 25), the Contemporary Art Museum of Mexico (October 25 - January 20, 2015).

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This Year's Honoree

Ms. Valentina Kozlova

Valentina Kozlova was born in Moscow. Chosen first among 30,000 applicants, Ms. Kozlova received her training at the Bolshoi Ballet School and joined the Bolshoi Ballet in 1973. She was promoted to Principal dancer in 1975 and performed all leading roles in the company’s repertoire. During a Bolshoi Ballet tour in Los Angeles in 1979, Ms. Kozlova defected. In 1982, Ms. Kozlova made her Broadway debut as Vera Baronova in the revival of "On Your Toes," featuring George Balanchine's "Slaughter On Tenth Avenue Ballet." The following year, she joined the New York City Ballet as a Principal dancer and remained with the company until 1995. Throughout her illustrious career, Ms. Kozlova has appeared as a guest artist with numerous prestigious ballet companies worldwide, including Australian Ballet, Ballet Theatro Alla Scala, Rome Opera Ballet, English National Ballet, Hong Kong Ballet, and others. She has also made significant contributions as a choreographer, debuting with works like "Weeping" and "Nov-Den" for the International Ballet Project and "Gospel" for the New Jersey Ballet. Ms. Kozlova's notable appearances on video include "Pavlova Special" (CBS), "La Fille Mal Gardée" with the Basel Ballet (Phillips, Video, Germany), and "Spartacus" choreographed by Yuri Grigorovitch (VEAR Prod., Argentina). In 1991, Ms. Kozlova returned triumphantly to Moscow at the Kremlin Palace, facilitated by Glasnost. In 1995, she co-founded The Daring Project with Margo Sappington, dedicated to presenting new ballet works. Her versatility extended to musical theater with a role in "A Christmas Carol" alongside Tony Randall and Ben Vereen in 1998. Ms. Kozlova has been involved with prestigious competitions and ballet schools worldwide, including the New York International Ballet Competition and Edmonton Ballet Summer Intensive. She received several awards for her teaching, including the Teacher of Distinction Award at the American Ballet Competition and Best Teacher Award at the Youth America Grand Prix. In 2011, Ms. Kozlova founded the Valentina Kozlova International Ballet Competition (, which has provided opportunities for young dancers globally through scholarships, company contracts, and prestigious awards. The competition celebrated its 13th edition in April 2024. Throughout her career, Ms. Kozlova has continued to contribute significantly to the ballet world as a master teacher, coach, and stager of classical works for renowned companies such as Boston Ballet, Ballet West, Cleveland Ballet, and Joffrey Ballet School, among others. In recognition of her outstanding contributions to the arts, Ms. Kozlova was honored with the Artist Teacher Award from the School of the Dance of the Chautauqua Institute in 2013 and was recognized as a "Great American, Great Immigrant" by the Carnegie Corporation of New York in 2018. Most recently, in 2024, she received a Certificate of Artistic Recognition from New York City Mayor Eric Adams.

Prominent Honored Figures:
Lifetime Achievement Award

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Valentina Kozlova

2024 Award


Willhelm Burmann

2019 Award


Helen Trailine

2014 Award


Lupe Serrano

2009 Award


Edward Villela

2004 Award


Jose Pares

1999 Award

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Vladimir Issaev

2023 Award


Pedro P. Peña

2018 Award


Maria de Ávila

2013 Award


Frederick Franklin

2008 Award


Vladimir Vasiliev & Ekaterina Maximova

2003 Award


Fernando Bujones

1998 Award


Gloria Castro Martinez

2022 Award


Cecilia Kerche

2017 Award


Heinz Spoerli

2012 Award


Rolan Petit

2007 Award


Jean Babilee

2002 Award

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Lourdes López

2021 Award


Carlos Gacio

2016 Award


Marcia Haydée

2011 Award


Alberto Alonso

2006 Award


Carla Fracci

2001 Award


Daniel Lewis

2020 Award


Azari Plisetsky

2015 Award


Milorad Mišković

2010 Award


Violette Verdy

2005 Award


Rosella Hightower

2000 Award

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