The Genée International Ballet Competition, fondly known as ‘The Genée’ is the RAD’s flagship annual event and is named after Dame Adeline Genée DBE, co-founder of the Association of Operatic Dancing, as the RAD was then known.
The competition originated quite humbly in 1931 as the ‘Adeline Genée Gold Medal’ and was introduced as an additional incentive for candidates who had passed the Solo Seal examination. Felicity Garratt was the first recipient of this award with a silver medal and then a bronze medal added in 1934 and 1956 respectively, and both gold and silver medals introduced for male dancers in 1938.
The award continued to progress and develop into a competition format and remarkably it has taken place almost every year since 1931, even during the Second World War. In 2002, however Luke Rittner, Chief Executive, took the landmark decision to hold the competition outside London in order to embrace its international spirit. The competition has since been held in Sydney, Australia; Birmingham; Athens, Greece; Hong Kong; Toronto, Canada; Singapore and Cape Town, South Africa.
Following this year’s 80th anniversary of the RAD in Australia, we are pleased to announce that Sydney will host the Genée in 2016.
The decision to return to Sydney was made in recognition of Australia’s long commitment to the Genée, where it has produced outstanding candidates every year for the past decade, including the 2015 silver medal winner Lania Atkins, and bronze medal winner Makensie Henson.
The competition was last held in Australia to great success in 2002 when Sydney Opera House played host to a record number of candidates. This was the first time that the event had been held outside the UK. It also saw a young Sydney native, Steven McRae, take the gold medal. Steven has since gone on to perform with some of the biggest companies around the world and is currently a Principal of The Royal Ballet. Watch Steven talk about the Genée.
The Semi-finals will be held at The Concourse in Chatswood from 7–9 December, with the Final taking place at The Joan Sutherland Theatre, Sydney Opera House, on 11 December.
For more information, visit: www.rad.org.uk/genee2016
Double win for South African dancer, Leroy Mokgatle Genée GOLD medallist and recipient of The Margot Fonteyn Audience Choice Award.
South Africa is abuzz with tremendous pride of the double victory of 15 year old, Leroy, from Johannesburg - the first South African to be awarded a Gold medal and voted as the audience's favourite dancer at the RAD's flagship event, the Genée International Ballet Competition.
Of the twelve finalists, one quarter were South Africans. Megan Gerber (dancer 10) and Robert van den Aardweg (dancer 8) did us justly proud by performing superbly.
The judging panel of the Final of the Genée International Ballet Competition 2015, which included Dame Monica Mason DBE, former Director of The Royal Ballet, David Nixon OBE, Artistic Director of Northern Ballet, and David Bintley CBE, Artistic Director of the Birmingham Royal Ballet, awarded the following medals:
Male gold was awarded to Leroy Mokgatle, 15, from South Africa (trained by Christopher Montague, Sayward Harris, Angelique Harris, Heidi Wright & Angela Malan)
Female silver medal was awarded to Lania Atkins, 15, from Australia (taught by Mark Reily, Peta Frith, Tamar Arzoumalian & Julie Wells)
Female bronze medal was awarded to Makensie Henson, 15, from Australia (Prudence Bowen & Heidi Landford).
Leroy was also presented with The Margot Fonteyn Audience Choice Award. The Choreographic Award for the best Dancer's Own variation went to Jana Baldovino, 15, from New Zealand. Trained by Paula Hunt and Helen Calman. Jana’s winning piece Fandango was choreographed by herself and Paula Hunt.
Message from Leroy: (copied from Art of Motion Facebook page)
The Genee International Ballet Competition has been one of the most amazing experiences of my life. Thank you to the organisers of the competition for making me feel so at home and to the competition coaches for fine tuning my performance so I could be the best dancer that I could be.
I am grateful to having enjoyed several international events leading up to this one and that helped prepare me for this moment. A big shout out to my family for believing in me and allowing me to explore a cultural activity so totally diverse to ours.
Thank you to all my Facebook friends in SA and all over the world for their appreciation and well wishes. To my coaches, thank you for developing my abilities to be the best I can be and keeping me focused on my love for dance despite the many challenges I have had to face.
Finally, a big thank you to the private sponsors who invested in my abilities and those of my coaches. I commit to continue doing the best I know how for the art that I have learnt to appreciate and love.
In response to the above, Olivia has received the following messages:
How absolutely wonderful and yes, dancers could show the rugby players a thing or two!!!
Proudly SA. What a prestigious victory for such a young man. Congratulations Leroy! Your teachers must be so proud. We as South Africans are extremely proud & also proud of all our dancers who participated in Genée. Well done to all. Valerie Roulston (Sedgefield)
Congrats, fabulous news!! He is a brilliant dancer. At least dance did better than rugby yesterday!!
Most wonderful news. Hearty congrats to Leroy and also to Megan and Robert and their teachers. Well done! SA is very proud of you! Cathy Ballinger (Port Elizabeth)
|Brilliant. So the ballet dancers were better than the boks!
Vicki Karras (Johannesburg)
|Oh yay – that’s awesome news! Go SA!! Better than the bokke.
Kim Day (Cape Town)
|Leroy was a deserving winner of both awards! My living room erupted with screams and applause when he won. Mary Ann Salvage (Durban)|
|Congrats to Leroy.
Bernice Lloyd (Johannesburg)
|So proud of all of them. Go SA.
Tina D’Artnall (Pretoria)
|Fantastic! They were all lovely! Well done to the teachers.
Dianne Cheesman (Cape Town)
|Wow, how fantastic. Well done!
Liane Lurie (Johannesburg)
|What a wonderful achievement and well deserved. Well done to our fabulous teachers.
Joyce Myroff (Johannesburg)
|Such amazing news. Ballet is alive and well in SA.
Nadine Sacker (Johannesburg)
|Fantastic – Wow!
Celeste Greeff (Johannesburg)
|Wonderful news – they have indeed done the RAD and all of us proud,
Jacqui Wells (Johannesburg)
|Fantastic news and an awesome win for South Africa!
Chase Bosch (Johannesburg)
|Wow! Leroy was fabulous. Proudly South African ... all three of our finalists were excellent! Congrats! Beverley-Ann Valentyn (Johannesburg)|
|Congratulations to Leroy and his teachers. So proud to have a South African dancer bring home the Gold Medal as well as Audience’s Favourite! Norma Blakeway (Port Elizabeth)|
|How absolutely fabulous and exciting!!!! Congratulations to Leroy and all his teachers!!!
Laraine de Ville (Johannesburg)
|So very excited and so very proud. Able to watch it live too incredible.
Denise Caro (Durban)
|What wonderful news to have such success at the Genée awards in London.
Debbie Ralph (Port Elizabeth)
|Leroy’s win is such a boost for South Africa and the RAD.
Janet King (Pretoria)
|This is wonderful news, you must be very proud of what RAD has achieved in South Africa, congratulations. Pernille Duckworth (Kenya)|
|The South African “ballet world” as well as their family must be very proud.
Great work! Congratulations to all of you. Audrey Ferriere (Mauritius)
|We are very proud of all the South Africans that took part and were involved. Congratulations to Leroy Mokgatle on his fabulous Gold and Fonteyn Awards. Christine Compton (Kimberley)|
|Congratulations to SA for having such a wonderful showing of talent in the Final of the Genee! Such a boost for RAD teachers and dance in general in your country. I worked backstage helping Lynn on the day and all the students were absolutely charming and very supportive of each other. Leroy was a very worthy and talented winner! Sandra Elphinston (RAD London)|
|Congratulations to Leroy and his wonderful teachers. The Genée reflects the endless hours which Leroy's dedicated teachers spent working with him. I am very proud of Leroy. He is so deserving of both the prestigious awards which he received. What a talented young dancer! I wish Leroy every success for a very bright future. Suzanne Holmes (Johannesburg)|
|We are immensely proud to be South African dance teachers. Thank you and congratulations to you and the office for what you do to serve the teachers so that opportunities can arise for those they teach! Kati Ansell (East London)|
|It was really brilliant and I think the South Africans were so strong and stood out.
Charmaine Whaits (Johannesburg)
|Image: Leroy backstage on the day of the Genée Final, gaining perspective on a beanbag in his favourite colour, lime green.