The Genée Awards are held in honour of the first President of the Royal Academy of Dance, Dame Adeline Genée. The South African branch of the RAD is extremely honoured and indeed proud to have received in 1937 a magnificent silver trophy from Dame Genée herself, and to be the only country to host a forerunner competition to the Genée International Ballet Competition.
The Genée International Ballet Competition represents the pinnacle of achievement for young people trained in the Royal Academy of Dance syllabus. The competition is dedicated to promoting and rewarding standards of excellence in young ballet dancers internationally. This is achieved by offering aspiring dancers the unique opportunity to work with world-renowned choreographers and professionals as well as the chance to perform on an international stage.
Since 2002, the competition has been held on five continents, in cities including Singapore, Cape Town, London, Toronto and Sydney. The competition identifies talented young dancers and often launches them on a professional career.
Three medals are usually awarded – gold, silver and bronze – in a male and female category. They are awarded completely at the Judges' discretion and as such a gold medal is not always awarded in both categories. The medalists also receive prize money.
Further information relating to the Genée International Ballet Competition to be held in London is available on the RAD international website: www.rad.org.uk
Both the local and international competition is open to dancers who are current members of the Royal Academy of Dance, are under the age of twenty years, are of pre-professional status and who have passed the RAD Intermediate, Advanced 1 as well as Advanced 2 examination in Classical Ballet (Advanced 2 with Distinction).
The winner of the Adeline Genée Silver Trophy Competition receives full sponsorship to represent South Africa at the Genée International Ballet Competition.
2016 Adeline Genée Silver Trophy Competition
Four trained students competed in the Adeline Genée Silver Trophy Competition at Joburg Ballet studios in Braamfontein on Sunday 16th October 2016.
The programme included artistic and musical class arranged by former principal dancer, Dianne Finch, with music accompaniment by Michael-John Sheehan. In addition each competitor performed two solos – a 19th Century classical ballet repertoire variation and Dancer's Own, a solo choreographed specifically for them by their teacher or a coach, to a piece of music of their choice.
The competition was judged by Celeste Fair, Sue Kirkland and Laura Cameron. Candidates were assessed on their Class work and the two Variations and the judges were asked to use the same criteria used at the Semi Finals and the Final of the Genée International Ballet Competition.
2016 winner, 17 year old Jessica Hurwitz of Johannesburg. Jessica is currently trained by Natasha Ireland, Sandra Carstens, Anya Carstens and Linde Wessels. Prior to this she trained with Jane Pick, Joyce Myroff, as well as her mum, Nadine Sacker Hurwitz.
She participated in the 2016 South African International Ballet Competition in Cape Town and passed her RAD Advanced 2 ballet exam with Distinction. Over the years she has won numerous awards, bursaries and
championships, including the RAD Central Gauteng Regional Panel's Advanced 1 bursary award. She also participated in the 'Friends of the Ballet' Advanced 1 Bursary Award and was a finalist in the Val Whyte Bursary in 2012. Jessica has been with the Joburg Ballet Academy for several years, performing in productions with Joburg Ballet.
Among tears of jubilation an historical moment was realized – for the first time in the almost 80 years of the Award mother and daughter are recipients of the magnificent age old trophy gifted to the South African branch of the RAD by Dame Genée herself in 1937. Jessica's mum, Nadine Sacker, was the winner of the trophy in 1983.
The trophy was presented to Jessica by previous year winner, Megan Gerber, who reached the finals of the 2015 Genée International Ballet Competition in London. Jessica received a cash bursary of R20,000 towards entry into the competition that took place in Sydney, Australia in December 2016.
2015 Adeline Genée Silver Trophy Competition
Four Royal Academy of Dance trained students competed in the Adeline Genée Silver Trophy Competition at the Victory Theatre, Johannesburg on Sunday 9th August 2015.
The programme included a very artistic and musical class on stage by Liane Lurie, with music accompaniment by Michael-John Sheehan. In addition each competitor performed two solos – a 19th Century classical ballet repertoire variation and Dancer's Own, a solo choreographed specifically for them by their teacher or coach, to a piece of music of their choice.
The competition was judges by Vicki Karras, Manuel Noram and Anya Carstens. Candidates were assessed on their Class work and the two Variations and the judges were asked to use the same criteria used at the Semi Finals and the Final of the Genée International Ballet Competition.
The Academy is extremely grateful to management and the extended Joburg Ballet company for their invaluable support and for affording the RAD the opportunity to include in our 2015 programme dance pieces from their repertoire.
Last year's winner is 16 year old Megan Gerber of Johannesburg. Megan is trained by June Melville and Dorothy de Witt. She has won numerous championships, bursaries and awards as well as the RAD's Friends of the Ballet Advanced 1 Bursary and the Genée Dance Challenge in 2011. She was a finalist in the Val Whyte Bursary and participated in the South African International Ballet Competition held in Cape Town in 2014. She is currently part of the Joburg Ballet Academy.
Megan received full sponsorship to represent South Africa at the Genée International Ballet Competition in London in September where she was chosen as one of the eleven finalists.
The other talented competitors in this year's Silver Trophy Competition were: Leroy Mokgatle (Genée Gold Medallist); Luisa Higgo and Robert van den Aardweg (Genée finalist).
We also extend congratulations to Julie Anne Jones who was one of eight international students to receive the new Darcey Bussell Genée Bursary. As the purpose of the SA forerunner competition is to fully sponsor a student to partake in the international event and because Julie already had full sponsorship from the Academy, she was not eligible to enter the Silver Trophy Competition this year. Julie is from Pretoria and has trained in various dance genres. She is a member of Pro Arte Academy Senior School and is taught by Christopher Montague and Tanja Graafland. She is also a member of the Youth Dance Company of Tshwane directed by Sue Kirkland.