Prize performances

The Bedells Bursary was held at the RAD’s new headquarters for the first time.

Dance Gazette | Inside RAD | Issue 6 - Feb 2023

For the first time, the Bedells Bursary took place at RAD’s new, state-of-the-art London headquarters, in October last year. This was also the first competition to take place since 2019. 

British dancer Jakob Wheway, aged 15 was awarded the Bedells Bursary. Currently training at Tring Park School for the Performing Arts, Wheway performed variations from Giselle (the Act 1 peasant pas de deux) plus Between the Lines, which he choreographed himself.

22 young dancers took part in this competition where candidates were judged on a non-syllabus ballet class, a classical variation and a variation choreographed by themselves. In recognition of the huge importance of nurturing and providing opportunities for creativity in young dancers, this year’s Choreographic Award was presented to British dancer Scott Milne, 16 (and trained by Karen Berry at Danscentre in Aberdeen) for his Dancer’s Own solo entitled Twilight. This award has been made possible by funding generously provided by the Lynn Wallis Bursary Fund.

Candidates were judged by Lynn Wallis (former Artistic Director of the RAD), David McAllister (RAD Vice-President and former Artistic Director of the Australian Ballet) and Anna-Rose O’Sullivan (Principal Dancer with the Royal Ballet). O’Sullivan is one of many previous winners to perform with professional companies. Dancers from previous competitions have also gone on to dance with companies such as Dutch National Ballet and Estonian National Ballet, and other former winners include Errol Pickford, Lauren Cuthbertson, Sean Bates, Joseph Caley and Brandon Lawrence.

Jakob Wheway with Anna Rose O’Sullivan. Photo: Foteini Christofilopoulou

Recognising young dancers’ excellence in artistic and technical achievement and providing opportunities for creativity, the bursary is named in honour of Phyllis Bedells, a founder member of the RAD. The bursary, supported by the Mary Kipps Bequest, offers £1,000 to be used to further the winner’s training. This year, dancers took part from countries including the UK, Malta, Canada, Hong Kong and Portugal.

Gerard Charles, Artistic Director of the RAD, said, ‘it is a joy to see our dancers gather from so many different places to learn together, to show what they have achieved and to see each other’s work. It is a good opportunity to celebrate their work and to recognise all the people that have helped them get to this point. We are always excited to see what their next steps may be.’

This year’s Bedells Bursary took place at the same time as the RAD’s Dance Challenge, a nationwide competition where dancers perform a solo choreographed by themselves. The winners were:

  • Overall winner of the Antoinette Sibley Scholarship for Levels 1 and 2: Erin Eastaugh, 12, trained by Karen Berry and Lorna Scott at Danscentre in Aberdeen
  • Jean Bedells Choreographic Award Level 1: Beatrix Chevalier Louis, 11, trained by Lorna Scott at Danscentre in Aberdeen
  • Jean Bedells Choreographic Award Level 2: Keira Hair, 16, trained by Lorna Scott at Danscentre in Aberdeen

All the young dancers taking part in both competitions enjoyed a weekend of performances and educational experiences at RAD headquarters, including a special masterclass led by former Royal Ballet dancer Leanne Cope.

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