For the past 10 years, English National Ballet's annual Emerging Dancer Awards have offered a unique opportunity for lower-ranking company members to step into the spotlight. This year's competition, held on May 7 at London's historic Sadler's Wells Theatre, features six finalists selected by their peers. If a quick trip to London's not in the cards, don't fear; ENB will live-stream the awards on their Facebook and YouTube pages starting at 7:25 pm BST (2:25 pm EST).
The young dancers will take the stage before a panel of expert judges in classical pas de deux and contemporary solos, in which they've been coached by their ENB colleagues. The program also includes an appearance from last year's winner, Daniel McCormick, who will dance a pas de deux from Don Quixote with ENB dancer (and 2017 Pointe Star of the Corps) Francesca Velicu. Get to know the six finalists below.
Alice Bellini joined ENB in 2017 after graduating from the Royal Ballet School. Before making her way to London, Bellini trained at the La Scala Ballet School in her native Milan. Since joining ENB, she has shone in roles like The Novice in Jerome Robbins' The Cage and the pas de deux in Aszure Barton's Fantastic Beings. Last year, Bellini won the People's Choice Award at the Emerging Dancer Competition, an honor earned through a public vote.
Bellini will dance Grand Pas Classique with finalist Shale Wagman as well as Danish choreographer Sebastian Kloborg's CLAN B.
Also from Italy, Emilia Cadorin joined ENB in 2015. Prior to that, she danced with Estonian National Ballet, Ballet Du Capitole, Toulouse and Teatro alla Scala. She trained at Il Balletto in Castelfranco Veneto, the northern Italian town where she grew up, and was a trainee with Boston Ballet. Cadorin's favorite ballets to dance include George Balanchine's Valse-Fantaisie, John Neumeier's Lady of the Camellias and Sir Kenneth MacMillan's Elite Syncopations.
Cadorin will dance a pas de deux from Coppélia with finalist Rhys Antoni Yeomans as well as a solo titled BAM! choreographed by ENB first soloist Fabian Reimair, who also composed the music for the piece.
Julia Conway, the third and final female contestant, hails from London. Before joining ENB in 2017, she trained with Olga Semenova and Young Dancers Academy, Magaly Suárez, Ayako Yamada and Isabelle Guérin, and at the Royal Ballet Upper School. Conway won first place at the 2014 World Ballet Competition and also came in first at Youth America Grand Prix Paris in 2015. At ENB, Conway's favorite roles are Princess Florine in MacMillan's Sleeping Beauty and the Pas de Trois in Derek Deane's Swan Lake.
Conway will dance Flames of Paris with finalist Rentaro Nakaaki as well as a solo by Rambert dancer Miguel Altunaga titled Untitled Code.
Rentaro Nakaaki is relatively new to ENB; he joined the company in 2018. From Osaka, Japan, Nakaaki trained at Sadamatsu Hamada Ballet School before graduating from English National Ballet School. In 2018, he came in first in the school's choreographic competition. He also placed second at YAGP Japan in 2015. Nakaaki loves powerful classical roles like Basilio, Ali and Romeo.
Nakaaki will dance Flames of Paris with Conway as well as Own, a solo choreographed by Nuno Campos.
Shale Wagman's name might sound familiar to you; this young Canadian dancer won first prize and the Rudolf Nureyev Foundation Prize at the 2018 Prix de Lausanne. He was also the winner of the 2014 YAGP Youth Grand Prix Award. Since joining ENB in 2018, Wagman has danced roles including the Beggar Chief in MacMillan's Manon, Freddie, Spanish and Chinese in Wayne Eagling's Nutcracker, and the Pas de Trois and Neapolitan dance in Deane's Swan Lake.
Wagman will dance Grand Pas Classique with Bellini as well as Peculiar Mind, a solo choreographed by Nürnberg Ballet dancer Sofie Vervaecke.
Rhys Antoni Yeomans
From Manchester, UK, Rhys Antoni Yeomans joined ENB in 2017 after training at Centre Pointe in Manchester and the English National Ballet School. Standout roles so far include the tap dancing Mad Hatter in Christopher Wheeldon's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Oberon in Sir Frederick Ashton's The Dream. Yeomans is passionate about more than ballet; he played the leading role in the West End's Billy Elliot and continues to cultivate his love for musical theater and tap.
Yeomans will dance a pas de deux from Coppélia with Cadorin as well as a solo from William Forsythe's In the middle, somewhat elevated.