Aussie Success at the Genée

Medallists and judges from the 2019 Genée International Ballet Competition. Photo Michael Slobodian

Gold & Silver to Australia! … Congratulations to Finalists Paloma, Primrose, Eliza & Mia

Winners Announced for the 2019 Genée International Ballet Competition

With four young Australian dancers represented in the 2019 Genée International Ballet Competition Finals, two were successful at the Final on August 29 in Toronto with Mia Zanardo being awarded a gold medal and Paloma Hendry-Hodsdon receiving a silver medal.

After a week of intensive coaching from world-renowned teachers and choreographers, the competition final saw the coveted gold medal awarded to Darrion Sellman, aged 15 from the USA, and Mia Zanardo, aged 15 from Australia, trained by Hilary Kaplan and Archibald McKenzie.

Mia Zanardo. Photo Michael Slobodian

Silver medals were awarded to Malaysian dancer Julian Wen-Sheng Gan, aged 17,  and Australian dancer Paloma Hendry-Hodsdon, aged 17, trained by Shirley Rogers. Jessica Templeton aged 16 from the UK was awarded a bronze medal. Julian Wen-Sheng Gan was also presented with the Margot Fonteyn Audience Choice Award.

A total of 62 candidates of 13 different nationalities were whittled down to 14 finalists, to compete in the first Genée final to be held in Toronto since 2008.

A warm congratulations to all the finalists and in particular to the four Australian’s who have big footsteps to follow of fellow Australians who have had a strong history of success in the competition since our first Gold medalist Laurel Martyn (then Gill) in 1935.

The 2019 Genée finalists were:

  • Alyssa Churchill  (17), Canadian, trained by Felicity Rootes and Laura Prada
  • Beatriz Ribeiro Galli Ferreira (17), Brazilian, trained by Daniele Bittencourt and Beatriz Molinari
  • Paloma Hendry-Hodsdon (17), Australian, trained by Shirley Rogers
  • Sophie Higgins (17), Canadian, trained by Tania Brossoit
  • Caitlin Jones (18), Welsh, trained by Jonathan Barton
  • Primrose Kern (16), Australian, trained by Heidi Landford
  • Anya Mercer (16), British, trained by Victoria Allport and Deborah Mercer
  • London Mills (17), American, trained by Susan Case and Alexandra Koltun
  • Hitoe Nakatamari (19), Japanese, trained by Mika Tamaru
  • Darrion Sellman (15), American, trained by Andrea Paris-Guiterrez and Jose Carayol
  • Jessica Templeton (16), British, trained by Faculty of Tring Park School
  • Julian Wen-Sheng Gan (17), Malaysian, trained by Serena Tan Suet Leng
  • Eliza Wenham (15), Australian, trained by  Marie Walton Mahon
  • Mia Zanardo (15), Australian, trained by Hilary Kaplan and  Archibald McKenzie

The Choreographic Award was won by South African  dancer, Ashton Parker  aged 20, trained by Jonathan Barton.  The judges felt that her solo Alcoba Azul (choreographed by Indra Reinholde ) demonstrated the highest standard of choreography within the Dancer’s Own category.

The final included a special excerpt from The Vertiginous Thrill of Exactitude, performed by 5 artists from The National Ballet of Canada. The competition was also attended by one of the official Ambassadors for Genée 2019, Donald Thom (first soloist, National Ballet of Canada) Donald Thom was a finalist at the Genée International Ballet Competition in 2010, when the competition was held in London.

Read more about the 2019 Genée here.

Genée 2019 Finalists. Image courtesy