Toronto 2019

The Genée International Ballet Competition was held in Toronto from 20-29 August 2019.

Hosted by a different country each year, the Genée returned to Toronto for the first time since 2008 with week-long events attracting 62 of the world’s finest 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.

Medals and awards

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 15 from Australia, trained by Hilary Kaplan and Archibald McKenzie, and Darrion Sellman, aged 15 from the USA, trained by Andrea Paris-Gutierrez 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.

Toronto 2019 was the final time this competition will be called ‘the Genée,’ as earlier this year, the RAD announced that as of 2020 the competition will be renamed to celebrate its longest-serving President, Dame Margot Fonteyn, who would have turned 100 years old in 2019. The Margot Fonteyn International Ballet Competition will be hosted in the UK to coincide with the Academy’s centenary. The year 2020 also marks the first time that the competition will be held at London’s Royal Opera House, offering aspiring young dancers the chance to perform on one of the world’s most famous stages.

Photos by Chi Wai Cheung.