The Royal Academy of Dance (RAD) is pleased to announce the medallists of the prestigious Genée International Ballet Competition 2019, held at Four Seasons Centre for Performing Arts in Toronto on August 29. After a week of intensive coaching from world-renowned teachers and choreographers, the competition final saw the coveted gold medal awarded to Darrion Sellman, aged 15 from the USA, trained by Andrea Paris-Guiterrez and Jose Carayol, and Mia Zanardo, aged 15 from Australia, trained by Hilary Kaplan and Archibald McKenzie.
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 RAD to create two variations (one for male candidates and one for female candidates) for the competition. The young dancers were judged by Karen Kain, Artistic Director of The National Ballet of Canada, Dame Monica Mason DBE, former Director of The Royal Ballet, Mikko Nissinen, Artistic Director of Boston Ballet and Magdalena Popa, Principal Artistic Coach of The National Ballet of Canada.
The final included a special excerpt from The Vertiginous Thrill of Exactitude, performed by 5 artists from The National Ballet of Canada. The competition was also attended by one of the official Ambassadors for Genée 2019, Donald Thom (first soloist, National Ballet of Canada) Donald Thom was a Finalist at the Genée International Ballet Competition in 2010, when the competition was held in London.
The Genée Final also marked a special celebration of Karen Kain, as she was presented with the RAD’s highest accolade, the Queen Elizabeth II Coronation Award. Karen Kain is the first Canadian to be awarded this honour, and this marked the first time that it was bestowed outside of the UK. The RAD chose to recognise Karen Kain in celebration of her 50 years with The National Ballet of Canada, along with her incredible contribution to the world of ballet, both as a renowned dancer and one of the most distinguished leaders in dance today.
Click here to download photos, credit Michael Slobodian