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Dance International
Written by: Joanna Savage

Twelve young dancers, ten female and two male, have been named as Finalists of the Royal Academy of Dance’s (RAD) prestigious Genée International Ballet Competition.

In Wellington on Wednesday 12 and Thursday 13 December, 71 Semi-finalists from all over the world competed against one another in what is often referred to as the ‘Olympics of ballet’. The chosen Finalists will now compete for gold, silver and bronze medals on the evening of Saturday 15 December at the St James Theatre in Wellington, New Zealand.

Finalists will perform in front of a judging panel of top international ballet professionals, including: Artistic Director of Queensland Ballet and author of Mao's Last Dancer, Li Cunxin; Artistic Director of Australian Ballet, David McAllister; and Artistic Director of Scottish Ballet, Christopher Hampson.

This is the first time the annual competition has been held in New Zealand. The event has previously been staged in Sydney, Athens, London, Singapore, Hong Kong, Toronto and Cape Town.

The Genée is a stepping-stone to a professional career in ballet according to RAD president and British ballet superstar, Darcey Bussell:

'For dancers who aspire to turn their passion into a profession, the experience of competing internationally is very important. Ballet is extremely competitive and dancers who are serious about a career need to not just have the technical and artistic ability but also the drive and stamina to go all the way. Competitors in the Genée have the bonus of being judged by Artistic Directors from top ballet companies, and as a result many of the medallists are offered contracts. Past winners have gone onto join many of the best ballet companies in the world.'

2012 Genée International Ballet Competition Finalists:

1. Montana Rubin, aged 15 from The Dance Spot (Australian)

2. Anyah Siddall, aged 16 from Tanya Pearson Classical Coaching Academy (Australian)

3. Sana Sasaki, aged 16 from The Mcdonald College (Australian)

4. Georgina Hills, aged 17 from Tanya Pearson Classical Coaching Academy (Australian)

5. Olivia James-Baird, aged 17 from Mt Eden Ballet Academy (New Zealander)

6. Harry Davis, aged 17 from The Victorian College of the Arts Secondary School (Australian)

7. Isobelle Dashwood, aged 15 from Classical Coaching Australia, Dance Central (Australian)

8. Kaena Ahern, aged 17 from Mt Eden Ballet Academy (New Zealander)

9. Emma McBeth, aged 18 from Alegria School of Ballet (New Zealander)

10. Kelsey Stokes, aged 16 from Prudence Bowen Atelier (New Zealander)

11. Aurelian Child-de-Brocas, aged 15 from Alegria Dance Studios (New Zealander)

12. Ariana Hond, aged 16 from Mt Eden Ballet Academy (New Zealander)

The Royal Academy of Dance (RAD) is an international dance teacher education and training organisation with approximately 13,000 members in 79 countries. The Academy promotes the knowledge, practice and understanding of dance internationally through educating and training of dance teachers and dance students and providing examinations to reward achievement. The Royal Academy of Dance is a charity registered in England & Wales No. 312826 and Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II is its patron.

The Genée International Ballet Competition is the Academy’s flagship annual event and one of the industry’s most prestigious international competitions. Named after the Academy’s founder Dame Adeline Genée in 1931, it is dedicated to promoting and rewarding standards of excellence in ballet dancers internationally. This is achieved by offering aspiring dancers the unique opportunity to work with world-renowned choreographers and professionals as well as the chance to perform on an international stage. The competition has taken place almost every year since 1931, even during the Second World War.


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