• Mia Atkinson
    Mia Atkinson
  • Amber Mitchell-Knight
    Amber Mitchell-Knight
  • Amelia Soh
    Amelia Soh
  • Christian Carlo-Stella.
    Christian Carlo-Stella.

Five Australians and one New Zealander are among the 15 young dancers to have been selected for the finals of the Margot Fonteyn International Ballet Competition (previously the Genee).

This year’s iteration of the Royal Academy of Dance’s flagship event was held on-line. The format resulted in a record number of  97 candidates, representing 16 countries. 

The Australian finalists are:

Mia Atkinson (NSW), from the Tanya Pearson Academy (trained by Catherine Edwards);

Amber Mitchell-Knight (Vic), National Theatre Ballet School (trained by Susan Sargison);

Amelia Soh (NSW), Mosman Dance Academy (trained by Jasmin Bobyk, Paris Bobyk);

Christian Carlo-Stella (NSW), Alegria Ballet Studio and English National Ballet School (trained by Hilary Kaplan and Archibald McKenzie); and

Milei Lee, English National Ballet School (trained by Liane McRae).

The NZ candidate is Alice McArthur, trained by Auckland Academy of Dance.

They will compete alongside:

Sebastian Aguiñaga (Mexico); Luke Blair (UK); Olivia Chang Clarke (UK); Tayla De Bie (South Africa); Poppy Frankel (UK); Hannah Martin (UK); Paige McElligott (South Africa); Lize Mentz (South Africa) and Edward Truelove (UK).

The  esteemed judging panel comprised of RAD President Dame Darcey Bussell, Artistic Director and CEO of Scottish Ballet, Christopher Hampson, and former Artistic Director of Birmingham Royal Ballet, Sir David Bintley.

The 15 finalists will now go on to learn a commissioned solo choreographed by Ashley Page, former Artistic Director of Scottish Ballet, which they will perform with a classical solo at the final on Thursday 9 September.

The RAD has worked hard to ensure that the competition provides an inspiring and learning experience to its candidates, despite the restrictions of the pandemic. In the early stages of the competition, 114 dancers from 18 countries received on-line coaching, from leading professionals including former Royal Ballet Principals Ed Watson and Leanne Benjamin, Miguel Altunaga from Rambert Dance Company, and Amber Scott, principal dancer with the Australian Ballet. All finalists’ solos will be sent to Artistic Directors of leading companies across the world, providing a potentially crucial stepping stone in their career path.

The final will be available to watch on-line. Hosted by President Dame Darcey Bussell, and Artistic Director Gerard Charles, it will be held on Thursday September 9 at 7.30 pm BST, with ticket holders able to watch the event on demand until September 19. To find out more and to book tickets, visit www.royalacademyofdance.org/fonteyn2021

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