The Royal Academy of Dance (RAD) has announced the four medallists in The Fonteyn 2021, two of whom are Australian – Milei Lee and Amelia Soh.
Lee won the silver medal. She has been trained by RAD teachers Liane McRae and Janne Blanch, and at the English National Ballet School with Liane McRae. Soh, who has trained with RAD teachers Jasmin Bobyk, Paris Bobyk and Celine Bobyk, won a bronze medal.
The coveted Genée Gold Medal was awarded to New Zealand dancer Alice McArthur, who trained at Auckland Academy of Dance and is currently studying with Sarah Abendoth at John Cranko School. A bronze medal was also awarded to British dancer Hannah Martin. As previously announced, the Choreographic Award was won by British dancer Olivia Chang Clarke for her self-choreographed solo Rain of tears.
Previously called the Genée, The Margot Fonteyn International Ballet Competition – known as The Fonteyn – is RAD’s flagship event. Established in 1931, it remains one of the world’s most prestigious dance competition.
Due to the global pandemic this year’s final took place online for the first time, with RAD President Dame Darcey Bussell and RAD Artistic Director Gerard Charles hosting the event on 9 September, with a global audience tuning in.
The judges for the final were Dame Darcey, Director of The Royal Ballet Kevin O’Hare, Artistic Director of Scottish Ballet Christopher Hampson, and Irek Mukhamedov, Ballet Master at Opera Paris Ballet. They judged the dancers on a 19th or 20th-century classical variation, a contemporary solo choreographed by or for them, a commissioned solo by choreographer Ashley Page, as well as set class exercises.
Gerard Charles said: “I am so pleased that we were able to make the competition happen this year, after what has been an incredibly challenging time for dance students and teachers. It has been so inspiring to see these young dancers surmount unforeseeable challenges of separation, closed studios and lockdowns, just to take part in the competition, let alone take home a medal. This is a true testament to how deeply they value dance.”
The competition attracted a record number of applicants this year due to the new online format, with coaching delivered in the early stages to 114 dancers from 18 countries. From there, 97 dancers applied to be considered as a finalist, before judges selected 15 dancers to take part in the final.
The medals and accompanying prize money allow the winners to further their dance training. In addition, all of finalists’ solos will be sent to artistic directors of leading companies across the world – an invaluable calling card.
Alumni of the competition include Francesca Hayward and Australians Amber Scott and Steven McRae, to name a few.
More information about The Fonteyn 2021 can be found here.