Fonteyn 2021

We report from the Margot Fonteyn International Ballet Competition, held entirely online for the very first time.

Dance Gazette | Inside RAD | Issue 2 – Oct 2021

This year, The Margot Fonteyn International Ballet Competition was held entirely online for the first time in its history.

After remote coaching and masterclasses from world-renowned teachers and choreographers, the competition final saw the coveted Genée Gold Medal awarded to New Zealand dancer Alice McArthur, trained by Auckland Academy of Dance and currently Sarah Abendroth at John Cranko School. In a touching coincidence, Alice’s success comes over 30 years after her mother was awarded the silver medal in London.

Australian dancer Milei Lee won the silver medal. Milei has been trained by RAD teachers Liane McRae and Janne Blanch, and English National Ballet School. Bronze medals were presented to British dancer Hannah Martin, trained by RAD teacher Mary Goodhew, and to Australian dancer Amelia Soh, trained by RAD teachers Jasmin Bobyk, Paris Bobyk and Celine Bobyk. The Dancer’s Own Choreographic Award was won by British dancer Olivia Chang Clarke for her self-choreographed solo Rain of tears.

Amelia Soh. Photo: Guy Harman

Australian dancer Amber Mitchell-Knight, trained by RAD teacher Susan Sargison and the National Theatre Ballet School, won this year’s Audience Choice Award, generously supported by the Dame Margot Fonteyn Scholarship Fund. The online vote was held over a 72-hour period, so viewers in all time zones could choose their favourite dancer.

The 15 young dancers were judged by Dame Darcey Bussell, President of the RAD, Director of the Royal Ballet Kevin O’Hare, CEO and Artistic Director of Scottish Ballet Christopher Hampson and Irek Mukhamedov, Ballet Master at the Paris Opéra Ballet. Each dancer performed a 19th- or 20th-century classical variation, a contemporary solo choreographed by or for them (Dancer’s Own), a commissioned solo by choreographer Ashley Page and set class exercises.

Hannah Martin
Milei Lee. Photo: Amber Griffin Photography

Gerard Charles, Artistic Director of the RAD said: ‘I am so pleased that we were able to make the competition happen this year, after what has been an incredibly challenging time for dance students and teachers. It has been so inspiring to see these young dancers surmount unforeseeable challenges of separation, closed studios and lockdowns, just to take part in the competition, let alone take home a medal. This is a true testament to how deeply they value dance.’

The RAD welcomed a record number of applicants, thanks to a new format designed to widen access to this prominent competition. In the early stages, the RAD delivered one-to-one online coaching for 114 dancers from 18 countries. The coaches, all leading professionals, included former Royal Ballet Principals Edward Watson and Leanne Benjamin, Miguel Altunaga from Rambert and Amber Scott, Principal with the Australian Ballet. All the solos of the 15 chosen finalists will be sent to artistic directors of leading international companies, providing a potentially crucial stepping stone in their career path.

Alice McArthur


Meet the Fonteyn finalists


Bronze medallist Hannah Martin on her journey to the final


RAD Q&A post

Mia Zanardo

Dance Gazette

Read more

REST OF Issue 2 – Oct 2021


Paint job

From chalk and lard to gold leaf and mascara: Vera Rule reveals the hidden history of ballet make-up.

Why Dance Matters post

Yami ‘Rowdy’ Lofvenberg

Her school teachers called her stupid, but the hip-hop choreographer and teacher has found a defiant voice through dance. She explains the importance of being rowdy.

RAD Q&A post

Mia Zanardo

A gold medallist at the last in-person Genée competition recalls the evening, and describes staying motivated through the pandemic in Sydney.

Advice Bureau post

Didy Veldman

The Dutch choreographer shares her best advice: chase your dreams!

Playlist post

Drew McOnie

The choreographer and director is creating a new ballet about the young Merlin. Is his playlist magical too?

Big Picture post

Feel it

The international winning entries from this year’s RAD members’ photo competition. The theme? ‘Dance makes me feel…’


Picture this

As the RAD launches a portrait competition for its new London headquarters, Sarah Crompton asks leading portrait artists how they capture a personality in paint.


Living doll

The RAD’s new portrait competition celebrates its first President, Adeline Genée. But who was she – and how did she rise from the music hall to the peak of British ballet? Carol Martin reveals the woman behind the porcelain princess.


Founding father

The French painter Poussin is often called the father of classicism. He was also fascinated by dance – so Rosemary Waugh asks a choreographer and a curator to delve into his paintings.


Shake it up

As calls for racial equity in dance teaching grow, Isaac Ouro-Gnao asks what tangible action looks like and explores how to bring about change.


Walk tall

A migrant child crossed Europe this summer. What makes Amal unusual is that she is an 11-foot puppet who draws crowds wherever she goes. She began her journey in Turkey, where Altuğ Akin sees her welcomed by Izmir’s folk dancers.