Two Australians received coveted medal placings at this year’s Genee International Ballet Competition, held at the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts in Toronto, Canada, on 29 August.
After a week of intensive coaching from world-renowned teachers and choreographers, the competition final saw two coveted gold medals awarded to Mia Zanardo, aged a mere 15 from Australia, trained by Hilary Kaplan and Archibald McKenzie of Alegria in Sydney, and Darrion Sellman, aged 15 from the USA, trained by Andrea Paris-Guiterrez and Jose Carayol. Silver medals were awarded to Paloma Hendry-Hodsdon, aged 17 from Australia and trained by Shirley Rogers, and Julian Wen-Sheng Gan, aged 17, from Malaysia, trained by Serena Tan Suet Leng. Jessica Templeton, aged 16 from the UK, trained by faculty of Tring Park School, was awarded a bronze medal. Julian Wen-Sheng Gan was also presented with the Margot Fonteyn Audience Choice Award and the Choreographic Award for best Dancer’s Own variation was awarded to Ashton Parker from South Africa, trained by Jonathan Barton.
The event, which is open to RAD trained students, attracted 62 fine young dancers from 13 different nationalities, aged 15 -19 years old. The competition saw finalists perform three solos including never-before seen pieces by Italian-Canadian choreographer Gioconda Barbuto, who was commissioned by the RAD to create two variations (one for male candidates and one for female candidates) for the competition.
The adjudicators were Karen Kain, Artistic Director of The National Ballet of Canada, Dame Monica Mason DBE, 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.
Pictured top is Gold Medal winner Mia Zanardo. Photo: Michael Slobodian.