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Dance International
Written by: Flavia Cerrone
29/09/2013

The Royal Academy of Dance’s Genée International Ballet Competition 2013 has come to a spectacular close.

58 candidates from 14 different countries gathered in Glasgow from 20-29 September 2013 to endure nine days of intense training, sweat and stage fright in order to compete for the coveted gold, silver and bronze medals. After five days of coaching, followed by two days of Semi-finals, twelve finalists (nine female, three male) performed for a judging panel of top international ballet professionals. This included prima ballerina and President of the Royal Academy of Dance Darcey Bussell CBE, Director of The Royal Ballet Kevin O’Hare, and Artistic Director of Scottish Ballet Christopher Hampson.

(* 2013 Genée International Ballet Competition medallists with the judges - Photo by Andrew Ross.)

High performance standards left the judges with difficult decisions, but they eventually awarded five medals. The full list of medallists is as follows:

No gold medals were awarded.

Silver medallists (two female, no male)

• Isabelle Brouwers, 17, from English National Ballet School (German)

• Sasha Leong, 15, from Sydney Ballet School (Australian)

Bronze medallists (one female, two male)

• Natasha Watson, 17, from Ballet West (British) - winner of the level 2 Genée Dance Challenge 2010.

• Rory Ferguson, 17, from Tanya Pearson Classical Coaching Academy (Australian)

• John Rhys Halliwell, 18, from English National Ballet School (British) - finalist in the RAD's Fonteyn Nureyev Young Dancers Competition 2006 and winner of the RAD's Phyllis Bedells Bursary 2011.

The Audience Award, voted for by audience members on the night, went to John Rhys Halliwell.

The Dancer’s Own Choreographic Award, announced at last Friday’s semi-Final, was presented to winner Padua Eaton – who choreographed her own variation– by Armando Guadagno, General Manager of award sponsor Mondor.

According to Darcey Bussell, taking part in the Genée is a stepping-stone to a professional career in ballet: ‘For dancers who aspire to turn their passion into a career, the experience of competing internationally and being seen by Artistic Directors is a great opportunity. The profession today demands that a dancer has not only technical ability and expressive quality. The distinct elements of the Genée – particularly with this year’s introduction of the new Dancer’s Own Choreographic Award – prepare young dancers for the challenges of modern ‘company’ life. Many former Genée Finalists and Medallists have gone on to exciting and high-profile careers with companies as diverse as The Royal Ballet, National Ballet of Canada, San Francisco Ballet, Australian Ballet and Mariinsky Ballet (formerly the Kirov) to name but a few. I look forward to seeing how our 2013 medallists develop their own careers – with a Genée medal to their names and this experience serving as a wonderful stepping stone.’

This was the first time the annual competition has been hosted in Scotland. The event has previously been staged in Wellington, Cape Town, London, Singapore, Toronto, Hong Kong, Athens and Sydney.

Royal Academy of Dance Chief Executive Luke Rittner announced that next year, the Genée International Ballet competition will be held in Antwerp, Belgium. In true ‘Olympic style’, Lynn Wallis, RAD’s Artistic Director, received the Academy’s official tapestry from Christopher Hampson and passed it on to Assis Carreiro, Artistic Director of the Royal Ballet of Flanders.

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