In its 86-year history, no-one had ever won all three top awards at the Royal Academy of Dance’s Genée International Ballet Competition – until September 16th, when Harris Beattie, final-year student at Central School of Ballet in London, did just that at the Teatro Camões in Lisbon.
Harris, aged 18, won the Gold Medal, the Margot Fonteyn Audience Choice Award and the Choreographic Award for his Dancer’s Own variation, Torn, which he choreographed with his teacher Karen Berry of Danscentre, Aberdeen.
Silver medals were awarded to Australians Lucy Christodoulou, 17, and Matthew Maxwell, 15, both trained by Annette Roselli. British dancer Ryan Felix, 17, and Lin Fujimoto, 18, both from Birmingham’s Elmhurst Ballet School were awarded bronze medals.
This year’s competition attracted 52 of the world’s finest young dancers from 14 countries, aged 15 to 19 years old. Disappointingly, only six were male. The final of the 10-day competition was judged by former director of The Royal Ballet, Monica Mason; former RAD artistic director, Lynn Wallis; and artistic director of Scottish Ballet, Christopher Hampson.
“Harris Beattie demonstrates all the qualities that are needed to succeed in the international dance world. He is very talented but also determined, disciplined and has an enquiring mind,” says Central School of Ballet director Heidi Hall, “Harris approaches his training at Central like an elite athlete, but he can also communicate with an audience through dance, and this is what makes him stand out amongst other young dancers. This is the calibre of graduate dancer that Central continues to achieve through the partnership of our students and my dedicated and nurturing team.”
“I am thrilled to have taken part in the competition,” says Harris, “I have to thank all at Central and Resmi Malko my ballet tutor in particular for his enthusiasm, passion and support; and to Karen Berry at Danscentre for her continued assistance in my development as a dancer. I am looking forward to performing across the country with Ballet Central and aiming to join an international classical ballet company when I graduate next summer”
The 2018 Genée International Ballet Competition will take place in Hong Kong from August 3-12.