Genée International Ballet Competition 2013 – Glasgow

The Genée 2013 medallists together with Darcey Bussell, Kevin O'Hare and Christopher Hampson.<br />© Andrew Ross. (Click image for larger version)

The Genée 2013 medallists together with Darcey Bussell, Kevin O’Hare and Christopher Hampson.
© Andrew Ross. (Click image for larger version)

Genée International Ballet Competition 2013
Finals, Theatre Royal, Glasgow

29 September 2013
www.rad.org.uk/genee2013
www.scottishballet.co.uk

Press release: The Genée 2013 medallists are…

This year’s Royal Academy of Dance Genée Competition was held in Scotland for the first time, having been staged in different countries’ capitals since 2002. The format has changed over the years, so that it now includes elements of creativity as well as demonstrating technical ability and stage presence.

The 12 finalists performed a variation created for them by Robert Binet, as well as a brief solo of their own choosing, choreographed by themselves, their teacher or a fellow student. These were followed by a set-piece variation from a Petipa, Ashton or MacMillan ballet.
 

Bronze medallist Rory Ferguson backstage (Tanya Pearson Classical Coaching Academy).© Andrew Ross. (Click image for larger version)

Bronze medallist Rory Ferguson backstage (Tanya Pearson Classical Coaching Academy).
© Andrew Ross. (Click image for larger version)

The new award for ‘Dancer’s Own’ choreography went to Padua Eaton from Elmhurst School of Dance. All her own work, unlike most of the contestants, she performed her hyper-active 90 second Computer Virus in a funky outfit, to music by Daft Punk. Still only 16, she reminded me of Kristen McNally – an original dancer-choreographer who doesn’t fit the mould of would-be ballerina.

The other finalists’ ‘Dancer’s Own’ solos were clearly tailored to suit each performer’s abilities rather than challenge them. It was fascinating to watch them interpret Binet’s choreography with different emphases: Free Verse, to two of Prokofiev’s Visions Fugitives, for the young women; Open Form, to two other Prokofiev piano pieces, for the three young men. A solo that, for some, looked like a tricky technical exercise was transformed by others into a drama of changing moods and dynamics.
 

Victor Zarallo and Sophie Martin in James Cousin's Jealousy.© Andrew Ross. (Click image for larger version)

Victor Zarallo and Sophie Martin in James Cousin’s Jealousy.
© Andrew Ross. (Click image for larger version)

While the judges deliberated (Darcey Bussell, Kevin O’Hare and Christopher Hampson), the packed audience was entertained by two duets performed by members of Scottish Ballet: James Cousins’ Jealousy, a study of possessive love in which the woman’s feet never touch the ground, and Hampson’s virtuoso Paganini Variations, originally created for Mara Galeazzi and Sergei Polunin.
 

Silver medallist Sasha Leong from Sydney Ballet School.© Andrew Ross. (Click image for larger version)

Silver medallist Sasha Leong from Sydney Ballet School.
© Andrew Ross. (Click image for larger version)

The medals were awarded. No gold this year for women or men; no silver for the men but two bronzes, for Australian Rory Ferguson (17) and John Rhys Halliwell (18) from ENB School. Haliwell, a junior version of Steven McRae, won the Audience Choice Award for his pizzzazz. Two silver medals went to Isabelle Brouwers from ENB School and Sasha Leong from Sydney Ballet School: the judges had no idea that at 15, she was the youngest of the finalists.

Visit the RAD site for the Final Press Release
 

About author
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A long-established dance writer, Jann Parry was dance critic for The Observer from 1983 to 2004 and wrote the award-winning biography of choreographer Kenneth MacMillan: 'Different Drummer', Faber and Faber, 2009. She has written for publications including The Spectator, The Listener, About the House (Royal Opera House magazine), Dance Now, Dance Magazine (USA), Stage Bill (USA) and Dancing Times. As a writer/producer she worked for the BBC World Service from 1970 to 1989, covering current affairs and the arts. As well as producing radio programmes she has contributed to television and radio documentaries about dance and dancers.

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