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The Genée International Ballet Competition is a classical ballet competition. It is organised by the Royal Academy of Dance and named in memorial to Dame Adeline Genée, one of the founders of the Academy. First held in 1931, it is one of the oldest ballet competitions of its kind in the world.
The Competition originated quite humbly in 1931 as the ‘Adeline Genée Gold Medal’ and was introduced as an additional incentive for candidates who had passed the Solo Seal examination. The competition is open to candidates who have studied the Academy's syllabus, having completed the Advanced 2 examination with Distinction, and those who have been awarded the Solo Seal Award.
Felicity Garratt was the first recipient of ‘Adeline Genée Gold Medal’ award with a silver medal and then a bronze medal added in 1934 and 1956 respectively, and both gold and silver medals introduced for male dancers in 1938. The award continued to progress and develop into a competition format and remarkably it has taken place almost every year since 1931, even during the Second World War. In 2002, however Luke Rittner, Chief Executive, took the landmark decision to hold the competition outside London in order to embrace its international spirit, taking it to Australia where Sydney Opera House played host to a record number of candidates.
Following that success the Academy did not look back. A partnership with Birmingham Royal Ballet saw Birmingham host the Genée in 2003; Athens hosted a stunning event at the Herod Odeon Atticus under the auspices of the Cultural Olympiad Greece 2004 and the Genée has been welcomed by Hong Kong, Toronto, and, in 2009, Singapore hosted a unique and overwhelmingly successful event. November 2010 saw the return of the competition to London after five years on tour.
The competition consists of a semi-final and a final, with Gold, Silver and Bronze medals presented for both male and female sections. The Gold medal is awarded to a candidate only if they demonstrate exceptional technical skills, an innate response to music, outstanding performance qualities and charisma. Other awards were introduced periodically, including the Audience Choice Award and the Award for Theatricality.
The Royal Academy of Dance, in association with the Royal New Zealand Ballet and the New Zealand School of Dance, presented the Genée in 2012 in Wellington, New Zealand, from 6–15 December 2012. In 2013, the Genée was hosted for the first time in Glasgow, Scotland, and in 2014 the competition was held in Antwerp, Belgium.