Ballet Stars

Congrats to the 2019 Genée IBC Medalists!​

Michael Slobodian, Courtesy RAD

This week, 62 of the world's top young dancers trained in the Royal Academy of Dance syllabus gathered in Toronto for the annual Genée International Ballet Competition. Each year, the Genée is hosted by a different country; this was its first turn in Canada since 2008. After a week of intensive coaching and competition, the contestants, ages 15 to 19, performed before a panel of judges including Karen Kain, Mikko Nissinen, Magdalena Popa and Dame Monica Mason DBE last night. Also at the ceremony, Kain was awarded the Queen Elizabeth II Coronation Award, making her the first Canadian to receive this honor.


Here's the list of 2019 medalists (aka dancers to keep an eye on); after all, Stella Abrera, Francesa Hayward, Alex Wong and many other ballet luminaries won the Genée as teenagers.

Gold medalist Darrion Sellman

Michael Slobodian, Courtesy RAD

Gold Medal

Darrion Sellman and Mia Zanardo, both age 15, took home the gold. Sellmann is from the U.S., and trains under Andrea Paris-Guiterrez and Jose Carayol. Zanardo is Australian, and studies with Hilary Kaplan and Archibald McKenzie.

Silver Medal 

This year's two silver medal winners are Julian Wen-Shang Gan and Paloma Hendry-Hodson. Gan, 17, trains in Malaysia with Serena Tan Suet Lang. Hendry-Hodson, also 17, hails from Australia, where she is trained by Shirley Rogers.

Bronze Medal

Jessica Templeton was awarded bronze. She is 16, from the UK, and studies with the faculty of Tring Park School.

The 2019 medalists and judges

Michael Slobodian, Courtesy RAD

Margot Fonteyn Audience Choice Award

Gan also won the coveted Margot Fonteyn Audience Choice Award.

Choreographic Award for Best Dancer's Own Variation

South African dancer Ashton Parker won the Choreographic Award for her solo Alcoba Azull, choreographed by Indra Reinholde. Parker is trained by Jonathan Barton.

Next year marks a very special year for the Genée. The competition will be renamed The Margot Fonteyn International Ballet Competition after its longest-serving president, who would be 100 this year. The 2020 competition will be held in the UK to coincide with RAD's centenary, giving dancers an exciting chance to perform on the Royal Opera House stage.

Congratulations to all!

Ballet Stars
Karolina Kuras, Courtesy NBoC

It's hard to imagine the National Ballet of Canada without ballerina Greta Hodgkinson. Yet this week NBoC announced that the longtime company star will take her final bow in March, as Marguerite in Sir Frederick Ashton's Marguerite and Armand.

Keep reading... Show less
Sponsored by BLOCH
Courtesy BLOCH

Today's ballet dancer needs a lot from a pointe shoe. "What I did 20 years ago is not what these dancers are doing now," says New York City Ballet shoe manager Linnette Roe. "They are expected to go harder, longer days. They are expected to go from sneakers, to pointe shoes, to character shoes, to barefoot and back to pointe shoes all in a day."

The team at BLOCH developed their line of Stretch Pointe shoes to address dancer's most common complaints about the fit and performance of their pointe shoes. "It's a scientific take on the pointe shoe," says Roe. Dancers are taking notice and Stretch Pointe shoes are now worn by stars like American Ballet Theatre principal Isabella Boylston, who stars in BLOCH's latest campaign for the shoes.

We dug into the details of Stretch Pointe's most game-changing features:

Keep reading... Show less
News
Alice Pennefather, Courtesy ROH

You ever just wish that Kenneth MacMillan's iconic production of Romeo and Juliet could have a beautiful love child with the 1968 film starring Olivia Hussey? (No, not Baz Luhrmann's version. We are purists here.)

Wish granted: Today, the trailer for a new film called Romeo and Juliet: Beyond Words was released, featuring MacMillan's choreography and with what looks like all the cinematic glamour we could ever dream of:

Keep reading... Show less
Viral Videos

What do Diana Vishneva, Olga Smirnova, Kristina Shapran and Maria Khoreva all have in common? These women, among the most impressive talents to graduate from the Vaganova Ballet Academy in recent years, all studied under legendary professor Lyudmila Kovaleva. Kovaleva, a former dancer with the Kirov Ballet (now the Mariinsky), is beloved by her students and admired throughout the ballet world for her ability to pull individuality and artistry out of the dancers she trains. Like any great teacher, Kovaleva is remarkably generous with her wealth of knowledge; it seems perfect, then, that she appears as the Fairy of Generosity in this clip from a 1964 film of the Kirov's The Sleeping Beauty.

Keep reading... Show less