The names of the candidates selected for this year’s prestigious Genée International Ballet Competition have been announced by the Royal Academy of Dance (RAD) and among more than 50 dancers taking part there are 20 Australians ­– the largest representation from any single country.

Dancers at the 2017 Genée International Ballet Competition in Lisbon. Photograph © Bruno Simao

This year’s Genée will be held in Hong Kong, where it was held in 2006. The week-long event will be hosted next month by Hong Kong Academy of Performing Arts and Hong Kong City Hall, with the semi-finals taking place on August 9 and 10, and the final on August 12. Thirteen nationalities will be represented with dancers from Hong Kong, the UK, New Zealand, the US, Canada, France, Indonesia, Japan, the Philippines, Mexico, South Africa and Taiwan joining the 20 Australians.

The Australians selected are Romy Adair, Meredith Berends, Zoe Brady, Lily Carbone, Abigail Drew, Caitlin Garlick, Joshua Green, Kendall Harris, Jessica Ho, Claire Lecuona, Dominie Lythgoe, Emma Mackie, Beatrice Manser, Hugo Poulet, Gabriel Rogers, Penelope Rojas-Antonuccio, Portia Secker, Shontaya Smedley, Lauren Sowter and Lucinda Worthington-Shore. British dancer Chloe Jackson, and Japan’s Enoka Sato, both of whom are currently training in Australia, will also compete.

Named after the RAD’s first President, Dame Adeline Genée, the competition first took place in 1931 and has been staged most years since. Open to dancers aged 15 to 19 from around the world, trained in the RAD syllabus, competitors receive coaching from highly regarded choreographers and teachers over five days in the lead-up to the semi-finals and final. In 2002, the Genée was held in Sydney, where Australia’s Steven McRae, now a Principal dancer with The Royal Ballet, won a coveted Gold Medal. The competition was also held in Sydney in 2016.

The Genée has launched the careers of many young ballet dancers, with medallists going on to dance with companies around the world including The Australian Ballet, The Mariinsky Ballet, American Ballet Theatre, National Ballet of Canada, English National Ballet and The Royal Ballet. Harris Beattie from Aberdeen, who won a Gold medal in 2017, as well as the Choreographic Award and Audience Choice Award, will join Northern Ballet this month.

Australia’s Lisa Pavane, one of the judges at the 2018 Genée

At this year’s Genée, the dancers will take part in an intensive week of coaching from world-renowned teachers and choreographers, while this year’s specially commissioned choreographer Carlo Pacis will create two variations, which will receive their world premiere at the final. Pacis joined the Hong Kong Ballet after graduating with First Class Honours from the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts in 1998, and spent 12 years with the company where he began choreographing in 1999.

The judges at this year’s Genée are Septime Webre, Artistic Director, Hong Kong Ballet; Madame Zhao Ru Heng, Artistic Director (Dance), National Centre for Performing Arts in China; Janek Schergen, Artistic Director, Singapore Dance Theatre; and Lisa Pavane, Director, The Australian Ballet School.

The 2018 Genée International Dance Competition, Hong Kong, August 3 – 12