The Genée International Ballet Competition to be held in Scotland for the first time in 2013

The prestigious dance contest will be judged by Kevin O'Hare, Christopher Hampson and Darcey Bussell

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The Genée International Ballet Competition to be held in Scotland for the first time in 2013

Photo: Evan Li

As judging panels go, it’s a bit of a dream team. Stepping out in front of Royal Ballet director Kevin O’Hare, Scottish Ballet’s artistic director, Christopher Hampson, and the UK’s favourite prima ballerina, Darcey Bussell is something most young dancers could only dream of.

Taking place in Scotland for the first time in its 82 year history, the Genée International Ballet Competition is one of the most prestigious dance contests in the world. This year, 61 participants from 13 countries will be hoping to impress the aforementioned judges and take home one of the coveted gold, silver or bronze medals.

‘The exposure the dancers get is fantastic,’ says Hampson. ‘And the Genée really sets itself apart from other competitions, because it offers the dancers a lot more creativity. All the candidates get ten days of coaching, and the opportunity to work with a choreographer, so a solo is created on them. They’re also able to perform something of their own, which they can either choreograph themselves or ask somebody to do for them.’

Both the semi-finals at the New Athenaeum Theatre on 26 and 27 Sep, and the final itself at the Theatre Royal are open to the public, where audiences can see O’Hare, Hampson and Bussell make a few dreams come true. What will Hampson be looking for from his judging hot seat?

‘They’re all technically at a good standard to even get to the Genée, so that doesn’t concern me so much,’ he says. ‘I tend to always look for an innate sense of performance.’

Theatre Royal, Glasgow, Sun 29 Sep.

Genée International Ballet Competition

The international competition comes to Glasgow for the first time, presented by the Royal Academy of Dance in association with Scottish Ballet and the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. The top young ballet dancers compete for shiny medals by performing choreography by Robert Binet.

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