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 Post subject: Genee International Competition
PostPosted: Mon Sep 19, 2005 10:21 am 
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Location: London
The Royal Academy of Dance held the Final for its Genée International Ballet Competition at Sadler’s Wells on Sunday 11th September 2005.

15 candidates reached the finals, 9 girls and 6 boys, who were asked to perform three solos, two of which were set pieces in their male and female versions. The third solo was a Classical Repertoire Variation.

The set solos were a bit puzzling in their selection. They were not technically challenging for any of the dancers and they seemed to rely more on phrasing and interpretation of their choreographic content. The problem with them is that they were too similar in structure and technical difficulties. It seemed an oddity to have two set solos that made such similar demands on the dancers, instead of opting for more contrasting qualities of interpretation. There was no adagio work shown, or any grand allegro and thus, it was left to the classical variation to provide some clues as to the range of interpretation of the young dancers.

There was little doubt when this was performed as to who the winner of the competition was going to be. Celine Gittens performed her variation of “Giselle” with sense of style and phrasing, something that seemed lacking in most of the other competitors.

One thing that struck through the competition was that the different dancers seemed to go through the variations as if they were class exercises, and this defeated the purpose of the set solos created for them. Most of the dancers seemed unable to make anything out of them, which left a poor impression on their musicality and stage awareness. Those who succeeded in making something out of their pieces got their rewards at the end and thus, it was clear that the judges were looking for more than technical ability in their search for winners.

The classical variations were also puzzling in their selection. The Act II, Variation II from “Raymonda” really showed how little attention is paid to phrasing, musicality and sense of style. The variations from “Raymonda” have been a constant in Ballet Competitions in the past years and I wish teachers preparing their students for these solos showed a little bit more awareness of what these variations stand for. They are not just exercises in adagio or allegro work, they are choreographic statements in their interpretation of these aspects of ballet technique. Their contrast within the structure of the ballet has a meaning in the development of the characters and this seems to be forgotten once and again. How sad that Nureyev’s words, when he used to emphasise the importance of those arabesques and attitudes and their meaning within their contexts, seem to be forgotten. Without that sense of understanding, they stand as meaningless exercises devoid of much artistic value.

Jade Hale-Christofi, who won one of the silver medals, managed to bring some sense of excitement to the evening and executed his variation from “Le Corsaire” with intensity, but his work needs to be polished so that his individuality of interpretation does not develop into unnecessary mannerisms.

Overall, it was an interesting Final, but at the same time, it highlighted the lack of qualities that ballet has been suffering from for a long time. It certainly brought to mind Anna Pavlova’s advice to young dancers when she asked them not to take the work they did in the classroom onto the stage.


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PostPosted: Fri Sep 23, 2005 4:43 am 
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Joined: Sun Oct 24, 1999 11:01 pm
Posts: 19975
Location: London, England; Tallinn, Estonia
Genee International Ballet Competition
By Gavin roebuck for The Stage

This international ballet competition promotes and rewards excellence in young ballet dancers who have trained to an advanced standard in the Royal Academy of Dance syllabus. 55 candidates travelled from Japan, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, Cyprus, Germany, Canada and the USA for a week’s coaching at the RAD before competing for one of the fifteen places in the final and the chance to dance at Sadler’s Wells.

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