The Genée International Ballet Competition in Sydney next month

One of ballet’s most prestigious competitions returns to Australia next month – for the first time in 14 years – and we can’t wait to be a part of such an exciting event.

The Genée International Ballet Competition is the flagship event of the Royal Academy of Dance (RAD) in London and one of the most exciting annual events on the international ballet calendar. Attracting the finest young dancers from around the world that are trained in the RAD syllabus, the competition is well known to be an important launch pad for a professional career in dance.

Open to dancers from 15 to 19 years of age, the competition will take place from the 2nd to the 11th of December 2016, and provides the opportunity for young ones to work with renowned choreographers and teachers for five days in the lead up to the semi-finals – and for those that qualify, finals.

Dancers train at the Genée. Photo by Andy Ross.

Dancers train at the Genée. Photo by Andy Ross.

Returning to Sydney for the first time since 2002, this year’s competition is especially important for young Australian dancers aspiring to compete at an international level. There’s nothing quite like stepping on stage in front of a supportive local audience, in your own backyard (the iconic Sydney Opera House that is!) to really boost a budding ballet dancer’s confidence.

“The Genée provides gifted young dancers such a unique opportunity to learn from the best, showcase their skills and develop as dancers,” says Li Cunxin, artistic director of the Queensland Ballet and vice president of the Royal Academy of Dance.

“It is so much more than a competition and offers great insight to young dancers about how the industry works, allows them the opportunity to meet and learn from their peers and to work with some of the best teachers, coaches and choreographers today.”

David McAllister, artistic director of The Australian Ballet echoes these sentiments, “Dance is an art-form that grows and develops by nurturing talent and the Genée brings together young dancers from across the globe to meet, compete and build friendships that will last their whole lives.”

Energetiks Ambassador, Makensie Henson.

Energetiks Ambassador, Makensie Henson.

In 2015, our very own ambassador, Makensie Henson, won the bronze medal at the Genée before going on to accept a place at the esteemed Royal Ballet School in London.

It’s no secret that many of the Genée’s alumni have gone on to work for companies such as The Australian Ballet, The Royal Ballet, American Ballet Theatre, English National Ballet, The Mariinsky Ballet and National Ballet of Canada.

As the 2016 Genée International Ballet Competition draws closer, we’re incredibly humbled to be sponsoring such an important event. By sponsoring competitions like the Genée we continue to support young dancers on their path to a career in professional dance, and through them, the Australian dance community.

“The Genée competition was such a wonderful experience and definitely a lot of fun," says Makensie. “I felt very privileged to receive the bronze medal. It was such a special moment that I will treasure forever.”

A taste of the 2015 Genée competition.

The final of the Genée will take place at the Joan Sutherland Theatre, Sydney Opera House on 11 December 2016.

Article by Sarah Fennell.