News: Genée International Ballet Competition 2015

Tuesday 22 September 2015

Winners Lania Atkins Jana Baldovino Leroy Mokgatle & Makensie Henson (l-r) at Genée 2015. Photo Elliott Franks,   Royal Academy of Dance

The finals of the Royal Academy of Dance’s 2015 Genée International Ballet Competition took place at Sadler’s Wells last weekend, with medals being awarded to competitors from across the world. Dame Monica Mason, former Director of The Royal Ballet; David Nixon, Artistic Director of Northern Ballet; David Bintley, Artistic Director of the Birmingham Royal Ballet and Lynn Wallis, Artistic Director, Royal Academy of Dance were this year’s panel of judges.

A gold medal was awarded to 15 year old Leroy Mokgatle from South Africa. The silver medal went to Lania Atkins (15) from Australia (taught by Mark Reily, Peta Frith, Tamar Arzoumalian & Julie Wells) and 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. 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.

Previous winners of Genée medals include 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 a Pas de Deux from Romeo & Juliet.

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.

Next year’s Genée will take place in Sydney, Australia, at the Opera House, from 2-11 December. Since 2002, the competitiion has been staged in cities around the world including Wellington, Athens, Singapore, Hong Kong, Toronto and Cape Town.

Photo: Elliott Franks, Royal Academy of Dance

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