15 May 2019 09:00

Today, Dame Darcey Bussell, President of the Royal Academy of Dance (RAD), announced the renaming of its prestigious ballet competition to celebrate its longest-serving President, Dame Margot Fonteyn, who would have turned 100 years old this week. The competition will be hosted in the UK for the first time in five years, to coincide with the RAD’s centenary. 2020 also marks the first time that the competition will be held at London’s Royal Opera House, offering aspiring young dancers the chance to perform on one of the world’s most iconic stages.

Margot Fonteyn is regarded as the greatest ballet dancer of her generation, and was instrumental in shaping the RAD’s international expansion. In 1961, Fonteyn invited Rudolf Nureyev to perform at an RAD gala, his first ever London performance after his defection, leading to the pair’s legendary partnership, which propelled them to iconic status worldwide.

Currently known as the Genée International Ballet Competition after the Royal Academy of Dance’s first ever President, the competition began in 1931 to celebrate the world’s most talented young performers. The RAD will continue to honour its first president with the Adeline Genée gold medal for the best dancer.

The RAD acknowledges the support of the Dame Margot Fonteyn Scholarship Fund, the only charity bearing her name, which will continue its significant support to the competition by pledging an increased number of bursaries per annum for the next five years, and continuing to present the audience choice award in Dame Margot’s name.

Past Genée medallists have gone on to work for some of the best ballet companies around the world. Genée medallists who have gone on to work for The Royal Ballet include Steven McRae, Alexander Campbell, Lauren Cuthbertson and Francesca Hayward.

Read the full press release

The RAD will host the semi-finals and final at the Royal Opera House. The semi-finals will take place from 2 – 3 September 2020 in the new Linbury Theatre, with the final being held on Saturday 5 September 2020 on the Royal Opera House main stage. Dame Darcey will chair the international jury throughout the competition.

Hosting  the newly named Margot Fonteyn International Ballet Competition in September 2020 is just one of the exciting events in a year-long celebration of the Royal Academy of Dance as it turns 100.

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