Seven Australian dancers have been selected by The Royal Academy of Dance (RAD) to compete in this year’s prestigious Genée International Ballet Competition, which is being held in Toronto.
They are: Samara Brender (15) from Killara, New South Wales, trained by RAD Registered Teacher Jasmin Bobyk; Paloma Hendry-Hodsdon (17) from Kerrie Valley, Victoria, trained by RAD Registered Teacher Shirley Rogers; Primrose Kern (16) from Brisbane, Queensland, trained by RAD Registered Teacher Heidi Landford; Jade Marquez (15) from Hornsby, New South Wales, trained by RAD Registered Teacher Emma Jane Morton; Amber Mitchell-Knight (16) from Bowral, New South Wales, trained by RAD Registered Teacher Susan Sargisan. She has also been trained by Damian Smith and Claire Campbell; Eliza Wenham (15) from Sydney, New South Wales, trained by RAD Registered Teacher Marie Walton Mahon; and Mia Zanardo (15) from Sylvania, New South Wales, trained by RAD Registered Teacher Hilary Kaplan and Archibald McKenzie.
They are joined by two other dancers who are currently training in Australia: New Zealander Kimberley Mear (18), trained by RAD Registered Teacher Melinda Palmer and Yuiko Masukawa; and Japanese dancer Kie Nagayama (18), trained by RAD Registered Teacher Barbara Eversen.
The Genée International Ballet Competition is open to dancers, aged 15 to 19, from around the world who are studying the RAD syllabus. This year a total of 62 dancers from 13 different nationalities have been chosen for the week-long event which will take place at Canada’s National Ballet School, Betty Oliphant Theatre and the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts.
They will participate in an intensive week of coaching from world-renowned teachers and choreographers and then perform at the semi-finals on August 26 and 27, with the final taking place on August 29. Italian-Canadian choreographer Gioconda Barbuto, who is this year’s Commissioned Choreographer, will create two variations which will receive their world premiere at the final.
This year’s judging panel comprises Karen Kain, Artistic Director of The National Ballet of Canada, Dame Monica Mason, former Director of The Royal Ballet, Mikko Nissinen, Artistic Director of Boston Ballet and Magdalena Popa, Principal Artistic Coach of The National Ballet of Canada.
At last year’s competition in Hong Kong, two Australians won coveted medals, with Joshua Green winning the Gold Medal and Caitlin Garlick winning Silver. A large number of acclaimed Australian ballet dancers have taken home Genée medals in the past, among them Steven McRae, Amber Scott, Lana Jones and Alexander Campbell.