The Royal Academy of Dance’s (RAD) prestigious Genée International Ballet Competition returns to Australia in 2016 with the final to be held at the Sydney Opera House on 11 December 2016. As the annual flagship event of the Royal Academy of Dance, the competition attracts the world’s finest young dancers aged between 15 to 19 years old and culminates in a final to be judged by David McAllister, Artistic Director of The Australian Ballet, Kevin O’Hare, Director of The Royal Ballet, and Francesco Ventrigilia, Artistic Director of the Royal New Zealand Ballet.
Now in its 85th year, the Genée International Ballet Competition is named after RAD’s first president, Dame Adeline Genée, and is renowned for launching the professional careers of young ballet dancers. Past medalists, including Australia’s Steven McRae who is currently a Principal of The Royal Ballet UK, have gone on to join celebrated companies around the world including: The Australian Ballet, The Mariinsky Ballet, American Ballet Theatre, National Ballet of Canada, English National Ballet and The Royal Ballet UK.
Artistic Director of Queensland Ballet and Royal Academy of Dance Vice President, Li Cunxin, said: “The Genée competition provides gifted young dancers such a unique opportunity to learn from the best, showcase their skills and develop as dancers. It is so much more than a competition and offers great insight to young dancers about how the industry works, allows them the opportunity to meet and learn from their peers and to work with some of the world’s best teachers, coaches and choreographers.”
Australia was the first country outside of the UK to host the Genée in 2002, a year that saw a record number of candidates compete and the gold medal awarded to Steven McRae. The decision to return to Sydney in 2016 is in recognition of Australia’s long commitment to the Genée. Australia has produced outstanding candidates every year, including last year’s silver medal winner, 15-year old Lania Atkins and bronze medal winner, 15-year old Makensie Henson.
As one of the most prestigious dance competitions in the world, the Genée provides pre-professional dancers who have passed the RAD Advanced 2 examinations the opportunity to receive world-class coaching with renowned choreographers and teachers. This year’s Commissioned Choreographer, appearing at the Genée thanks to sponsor Energetiks, Tim Harbour, Resident Choreographer of The Australian Ballet, has created choreography specifically for the Genée which will be revealed for the first time in the competition final. Candidates also get to showcase their own choreography as part of the competition with the chance to win a Choreographic Award, sponsored by Mondor.
The competition boasts an esteemed faculty including Lynn Wallis OBE, Artistic Director of the Royal Academy of Dance, Adrian Burnett, New Zealand-born Australian Ballet Leading Soloist & International Guest Teacher, and Fiona Tonkin, Artistic Associate & Principal Coach of The Australian Ballet.
All candidates are automatically Semi-finalists; having already achieved distinction in the RAD’s highest vocational graded examination to qualify for entry. The Semi-finals will be held from 7-9 December 2016 in Sydney and then the Final on 11 December 2016 will be held at the iconic Sydney Opera House.
In the lead up to the Genée International Ballet Competition, the RAD also hosts the Genée Dance Challenge, open to all dancers studying with an RAD registered teacher and residing in the country that the Genée is taking place that year. This year’s Dance Challenge is sponsored exclusively by Bloch© Australia and is an exciting platform for young Australian dancers to take what they have learned through RAD exams and their regular dance classes and showcase it in a theatrical setting in a mini Genée experience.
The 2016 Dance Challenge began with an Australian state based competition, from which the winners will go on to represent their state in the Dance Challenge finals held in Sydney on 10 December. The state winners will also get the exciting opportunity to watch the Genée Final at Sydney Opera House on 11 December. To enter the Dance Challenge candidates must be at the level entered as at 1 January in the year they’re applying for and must not have taken the exam by 1 July. For full details on each level’s entry requirements or to purchase tickets to the Dance Challenge final visit: http://www.rad.org.au/achieve/the-genee/genee-dance-challenge.