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Written by: Nick Pearce - RAD
19/09/2015


Male dancer triumphs with gold medal at 2015 Genée International Ballet Competition

(* Lania Atkins, Jana Baldovino, Leroy Mokgatle and Makensie Henson (l-r) triumph at Genée 2015. - *Photo: Elliott Franks/Royal Academy of Dance.)

The Royal Academy of Dance (RAD) is proud to announce the medallists from the 2015 Genée International Ballet Competition. A prestigious gold medal was awarded to Leroy Mokgatle, 15, from South Africa. The silver medal was picked up by Lania Atkins, 15, from Australia (taught by Mark Reily, Peta Frith, Tamar Arzoumalian & Julie Wells), while the bronze was awarded to Makensie Henson, 15, from Australia (Prudence Bowen & Heidi Landford).

Leroy – trained by Christopher Montague, Sayward Harris, Angelique Harris, Heidi Wright & Angela Malan – was also presented with The Margot Fonteyn Audience Choice Award, having enraptured the Sadler’s Wells audience and live streaming viewers from around the world. The Choreographic Award for the best Dancer's Own variation went to Jana Baldovino, 15, from New Zealand. Trained by Paula Hunt and Helen Calman, Jana’s winning piece Fandango was choreographed by herself and Paula Hunt.

The Genée has proved to be a launch pad for a professional career in dance. Recent alumni include such celebrated dancers as Lauren Cuthbertson, Steven McRae, Leanne Benjamin, Xander Parish and, more recently, Francesca Hayward. During the final, audiences were also treated to a performance from former Genée silver medallist Lauren Cuthbertson and Federico Bonelli, Principal dancers of The Royal Ballet, dancing Romeo & Juliet, Act 1 Pas-de-deux.

This year’s competition marks the first ever live streaming of the Genée final, as well as the introduction of the Darcey Bussell Genée Bursaries to widen access. The live streaming gave online access to exclusive additional content, including an interview with Xander Parish (Genée silver, 2004) and a backstage glimpse behind the scenes of Sadler’s Wells during the intervals. Of this year’s 76 entrants from 16 countries, nine candidates received financial support of up to £2,000 to cover entry fees, travel expenses and associated costs. The nine bursaries have aided access to candidates from South Africa, Indonesia, China, Canada, Australia and the USA, as well as the UK.

As this year’s competition comes to a fulfilling close, bringing to light the young ballet stars on the rise, the international ballet community looks forward to the next Genée International Ballet Competition in 2016. The RAD’s CEO, Luke Rittner, announced that the 2016 Genée will take place in Sydney, Australia, at the Opera House, from 2-11 December. Since 2002, the Genée has been staged around the world as far as Wellington, Athens, Singapore, Hong Kong, Toronto and Cape Town.

(* Genée medallists joined by the judging panel. - *Photo Elliott Franks & Royal Academy of Dance.)

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