Fifteen Finalists Announced in the Margot Fonteyn International Ballet Competition 2021
Six Local Dancers Selected
Five young Australian dancers, as well as one New Zealander, have been selected in the top 15 finalists in this year’s Margot Fonteyn International Ballet Competition (formerly known as The Genée International Ballet Competition).
This is the first time the Royal Academy of Dance’s (RAD) flagship event (previously The ‘Genée’) has taken place under its new name. This year will be especially significant as the RAD has seen a record number of applicants, thanks to the new competition format intended to widen access to this prestigious event.
Held totally online this year due to the global pandemic threat, 114 candidates from 17 countries participated in the initial stage of the competition which began in February.
The judging panel comprised of RAD President, Dame Darcey Bussell, Artistic Director and CEO of Scottish Ballet, Christopher Hampson, and former Artistic Director of Birmingham Royal Ballet, Sir David Bintley, selected the finalists from a pool of 97 dancers from 16 countries.
The 15 finalists will now go on to learn a commissioned solo choreographed by Ashley Page, former Artistic Director of Scottish Ballet, which they will perform with a classical solo at the final on Thursday 9 September. Members of the public are invited to watch this historic final from wherever they are in the world, as it takes place entirely online for the first time in the competition’s 90 year history.
The 15 finalists for 2021 are:
- Mexican dancer, Sebastian Aguiñaga, trained by RAD Teacher Victoria Treviño
- Australian dancer, Mia Atkinson, trained by RAD Teacher Catherine Edwards
- British dancer, Luke Blair, trained by Dance Faculty of Tring Park School for the Performing Arts
- Australian dancer, Christian Carlo-Stella, trained by RAD Teachers Hilary Kaplan and Archibald McKenzie, and English National Ballet School
- British dancer, Olivia Chang Clarke, trained by RAD Teacher Denise Whiteman
- South African dancer, Tayla De Bie, trained by RAD Teacher Natasha Ireland
- British dancer, Poppy Frankel, trained by Vanessa Palmer
- Australian dancer, Milei Lee, trained by RAD Teachers Liane McRae and Janne Blanch
- British dancer, Hannah Martin, trained by RAD Teacher Mary Goodhew
- New Zealand dancer, Alice McArthur, trained by Auckland Academy of Dance and Sarah Abendroth
- South African dancer, Paige McElligott, trained by RAD Teacher Vanessa Eborall
- South African dancer, Lizé Mentz, trained by RAD Teacher Debra Colleen Gush
- Australian dancer, Amber Mitchell-Knight, trained by the National Theatre Ballet School and RAD Teacher Susan Sargison
- Australian dancer, Amelia Soh, trained by RAD Teachers Jasmin Bobyk, Paris Bobyk and Celine Bobyk
- British dancer, Edward Truelove, trained by Dance Faculty of Tring Park School for the Performing Arts
The Choreographic Award was won by Olivia Chang Clarke. The judges felt that her solo Rain of tears (self-choreographed) demonstrated the highest standard of choreography within the Dancer’s Own category.
“We have been so inspired to see the passion of young dancers across the world, who have continued to work so hard and share their love for ballet, despite such a challenging year,” said Dame Darcey Bussell
This year, audiences from across the world can watch the final online as dancers compete for the coveted gold, silver and bronze medals. The judges for the final are Dame Darcey Bussell, Director of The Royal Ballet Kevin O’Hare, Christopher Hampson and Irek Mukhamedov, Ballet Master, Opera Paris Ballet.
The final takes place on Thursday 9 September at 7.30pm BST. Ticket holders can watch the event on demand until 19 September 2021.
Hosted by Dame Darcey Bussell and RAD Artistic Director, Gerard Charles, this special online event will also provide a unique insight behind the scenes with interviews with famed dancers such as Leanne Benjamin, Dame Monica Mason and a rare glimpse into the competition process.
At the end of the presentation evening online, the medal winners will be announced. But you too can be part of the judging panel, with viewers in all time zones able to vote for their favourite dancer in the Audience Choice Award, within 72 hours of the video being first released. Your winner will be announced on RAD’s social media channels.