By: Dance  11-11-2011
Keywords: Ballet, International Ballet

Picture above:
L-R front row: Jin Hao Zhang (Silver) from China (16), Mana Ogawa (Silver) from Japan (17), Si Jia Miao (Silver) from China (19), Ashley Scott (Bronze) from South Africa (17), Mlindi Kulashe (Bronze) from South Africa (19).
Back row: Judges Iain MacDonald, Professor Elizabeth Triegaardt, David Nixon OBE
Pic by Pat Bromilow-Downing


Recognised as one of the ballet world’s most prestigious competitions and the flagship event of the Royal Academy of Dance (RAD), the Genée International Ballet Competition, held at the Artscape Opera House yesterday evening (Sunday 9 October), finished in top form as the Final drew to an exciting close.

The Western Cape's Mlindi Kulashe (19), originally from Nyanga and Ashley Scott (17) from Hermanus, both currently training at the English National Ballet School in London, were awarded the bronze medals in the male and female categories, to the absolute delight of the audience.

Crowned with success, the overwhelming public response was evident, with sold out performances of the Semi Finals and the Final with the support once again proving the competition’s reputation as a tour de force in the worldwide ballet scene. 

Dancers between the ages of 15 and 19 competed in the Semi Finals held over two days and this year saw the participation of dancers from South Africa, the USA, Canada, Wales, Scotland, Israel, Malaysia, China, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong, Cyprus and Spain.  Candidates are trained in the RAD Syllabus and the male and female entrants were judged separately. The judges were  David Nixon OBE, Chair of the Panel and the Artistic Director of Northern Ballet in the UK; Iain MacDonald, the Artistic Director of the South African Ballet Theatre in Johannesburg, and Professor Elizabeth Triegaardt, the Executive Director of Cape Town City Ballet based in the Mother City.

The winners list is as follows:


Gold (R50,000): No gold awarded

Silver (R30,000): Mana Ogawa, Japan, aged 17 and Si Jia Miao, China (Hong Kong) aged 19

Bronze (R20,000): Ashley Scott, South Africa, aged 17


Gold (R50,000):  No gold awarded

Silver (R30,000): Jin Hao Zhang, China, aged 16

Bronze (R20,000): Mlindi Kulashe, South Africa, aged 19

Audience Award: Jessica Brown, Australia, aged 15

It is at the judges discretion whether or not to award gold medals. The judges have a clear idea of what a gold performance is and although some outstanding talent was seen at this competition, the Panel did not feel that any one performer delivered that rare performance that merits a gold medal. Mr. Nixon, the Chair of the Panel, said " as well as the candidates did, no gold medal would be awarded this year".  Two silver medals and a bronze medal were awarded in the female category and in the male category, one silver and one bronze medal. The Audience Choice Award, an honour bestowed to the candidate who in the eyes of the audience deserves the top prize, after a very close count was awarded to Jessica Brown, age 15, from Australia.

Said Chief Executive of RAD, Luke Rittner who handed out the Awards onstage, “The warmth and enthusiasm that the RAD membership and ballet lovers in South Africa have exuded for the Genée has been phenomenal; they have not only come out in numbers this evening to watch and support the young dancers, they also orchestrated a remarkable number of events and activities all around the country to raise funds for the Genée.”

As this year’s competition comes to a fulfilling close, bringing to light the young ballet stars on the rise, in a very successful return to London, the international ballet community looks forward to the next Genée International Ballet Competition in 2012 which Luke Rittner announced would take place in Wellington in New Zealand, for the first time.

Notes to Editors

The Genée International Ballet Competition is dedicated to promoting and rewarding standards of excellence in ballet dancers internationally. This is achieved by offering aspiring dancers the unique opportunity to work with world-renowned choreographers and professionals as well as the chance to perform on an international stage. With over 13,000 members' spread across 79 countries, the Royal Academy of Dance (RAD) is one of the largest and most influential dance education and training organisations in the world.  Established in the 1920’s, to improve standards and re-invigorate dance training initially within the UK, the Academy helps and encourages its teachers to perfect their teaching skills and pass on this knowledge to their students. There are currently over 1,000 students in full-time or part-time teacher training programmes with the Academy and each year, the examination syllabus is taught to more than a quarter of a million students worldwide. The RAD celebrates its 90th anniversary, this year.

The Genée experience was enhanced with the inclusion of two very successful wraparound events - Sizodanisa-Let’s Dance!, a community dance project and free performance that was organised and managed outstandingly by Cape Town City Ballet; and the Genée Dance Challenge, a national competition for young dancers that took place at Artscape on 8 October.


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The full list of Finalists who competed on Sunday evening 9 October:

1. Lauren O'Kell, Canada 17

2. Simon Jones, Australia 17

3. Mana Ogawa, Japan 17

4.Shlomi Miara, Israel 18

5. Sarah Mortimer, Scotland, UK 19

6.William Fitzerald, Australia 16

7. Jessica Brown, Australia 15

8. Mlindi Kulashe, South Africa, 19

9. Ashley Scott, South Africa 17

10. Macbeth Kanera, Australia, 19

11. Si Jia Miao, Hong Kong, China 19

12. Jin Hao Zhang, China 16

Keywords: Ballet, International Ballet

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