Record Number of Entrants to Compete in Royal Academy of Dance’s Prestigious Genée International Ballet Competition at Sydney Opera House in December 2016

· 97 international dancers from 14 nationalities to compete in prestigious international ballet competition in December 2016

· Australian Dancer Steven McRae announced as Genée 2016 Ambassador

Sydney, Australia: A record number of 97 dancers from over 14 countries are set to compete in The Royal Academy of Dance’s (RAD) prestigious Genée International Ballet Competition when it returns to Sydney from 7-11 December 2016. The final on 11 December will be judged by David McAllister, Artistic Director of The Australian Ballet, Kevin O’Hare, Director of The Royal Ballet, and Francesco Ventrigilia, Artistic Director of the Royal New Zealand Ballet, with Australian dancer, former Genée gold medal winner and current Principal of The Royal Ballet, Steven McRae announced as Genée 2016 Ambassador.

Commenting on his appointment as Genée 2016 Ambassador, Steven McRae said: “As a springboard into launching my professional dancing career, the Genée experience and its world-class teaching gave me an extraordinary opportunity to develop as a dancer.”

Australia’s Steven McRae won the Gold Medal in 2002 when the competition was held for the first time outside of the UK in Sydney. In addition to performing with The Royal Ballet, he has gone on to perform with some of the biggest companies around the world as a guest artist. Returning to Australia in 2016, the Genée International Ballet Competition is now in its 85th year. The Genée is named after the RAD’s first president, Dame Adeline Genée, and is renowned for launching the professional careers of young ballet dancers. Past medalists have gone on to join celebrated companies around the world including: The Australian Ballet, The Mariinsky Ballet, American Ballet Theatre, The National Ballet of Canada, English National Ballet and The Royal Ballet.

With gold-level sponsorship from Bloch® Australia and Mondor, and as one of the most prestigious dance competitions in the world, the Genée provides pre-professional dancers the opportunity to receive world-class coaching with renowned choreographers and teachers. This year’s Commissioned Choreographer, appearing at the Genée thanks to sponsor Energetiks™, Tim Harbour, Resident Choreographer of The Australian Ballet, has created choreography specifically for the Genée which will be revealed for the first time in the competition final. Candidates also get to showcase their own choreography as part of the competition with the chance to win a Choreographic Award, sponsored by Mondor..

The competition boasts an esteemed faculty including Lynn Wallis OBE, Artistic Director of the Royal Academy of Dance, New Zealand-born Adrian Burnett, Leading Soloist with The Australian Ballet and international guest teacher, and Fiona Tonkin, Artistic Associate & Principal Coach of The Australian Ballet.

Held alongside the Genée International Ballet Competition, the RAD also hosts the Genée Dance Challenge, which is open to all dancers studying with an RAD registered teacher and residing in the host country. This year’s Dance Challenge is sponsored exclusively by Bloch® Australia and is an exciting platform for young Australian dancers to take what they have learned through RAD exams and their regular dance classes and showcase it in a theatrical setting in a mini Genée experience. The state winners of the Dance Challenge will compete in the final held in Sydney on 10 December and will also have the exciting opportunity to watch the Genée Final at Sydney Opera House on 11 December.