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Cecchetti Classical Ballet Awards 2014

Cecchetti Classical Ballet Awards 2014

20 March 2014

Catherine Hutchon reports on a successful event, with a record number of participants

The annual Cecchetti Classical Ballet Awards took place at the Lilian Baylis Studio, Sadler’s Wells on 23rd and 24th November 2013. The weekend was excellently managed and run by members of the Cecchetti Group under the leadership of their Chair, Liz James, and the Awards organiser, Judith Wilson. A number of generous sponsors including The Cecchetti Society Trust, Gaynor Minden, International Dance Supplies, Oberon Books and private sponsors made the event possible. Their support was greatly appreciated as it gives many young competitors the opportunity to compete and perform on a professional London stage.

Cecchetti Classical Ballet Vocational Awards

The Cecchetti Classical Ballet Vocational Awards took place on the afternoon of 24th November and, as well as the annual Barbara Geoghegan Award and Fewster Cecchetti Scholarship, the Awards included the selection of young dancers to represent the UK at the 2014 Cecchetti International Classical Ballet (CICB) Competition in Richmond, Virginia USA. There was a record entry of 47 dancers from Central School of Ballet, Elmhurst School for Dance, English National Ballet School, KS Dance, Royal Conservatoire of Scotland and Tring Park School for the Performing Arts. The Cecchetti Society was very honoured to have Cecchetti Patrons, Dame Monica Mason DBE and David Bintley CBE as Adjudicators.

The students all participated in a class on stage, taken with quiet expertise by the delightful David Yow, accompanied by the inspirational playing of David Smith. The majority of the competitors who wished to be considered for the Geoghegan Awards and/or the CICB selection performed solo variations. As the adjudicators retired to make their difficult choices the audience was treated to a short performance. The Cecchetti Senior Scholars danced Classical Caprice choreographed by Gillian Toogood. Ashleigh McKimmie, winner, of both the 2011 CICB Competition and the 2012 Barbara Geoghegan Award, performed Aurora’s Variation from Act III Sleeping Beauty.

The winner of the Fewster Cecchetti Scholarship was Paul Oliver and the runner-up was Grace Hume who received £2,000 and £600 respectively. The winner of the Barbara Geoghegan Award was Maki Sekuzu and the runner-up was Yujin Muraishi who received £2,000 and £700 respectively. All four hugely talented students were from Elmhurst School for Dance. These four together with three students who received commendations – Jenny Hackwell (Kate Simmons Dance), Rosanna Ely and Mami Hagihara (Elmhurst School for Dance) – were all selected to represent the UK at the CICB Competition. In addition to these Awards, the recipient of the Promising Young Dancer Award was George Nightingale (English National Ballet School) and the Musicality Award was presented to Lindsey Fraser (Tring Park School for the Performing Arts). They both received awards of £600.

After the presentations Elisabeth Swan gratefully thanked Monica Mason and David Bintley for their excellent adjudication. Their words of warm encouragement and advice to the performers, given from their vast knowledge and experience both as dancers and as directors of British Ballet companies were invaluable. Miss Swan also paid tribute to all the young dancers who participated throughout the weekend, and to the hard work and dedication of the teachers and families who support them.

Childrens Awards and Mabel Ryan Awards

The event began on Saturday afternoon with the Children’s Awards A and B, and the Junior Mabel Ryan Awards. Elisabeth Swan, Chair of the Cecchetti Society, warmly welcomed Darius James as Adjudicator for the day and Tessa Barker who joined him to adjudicate the ‘Performance’ and ‘ Joy of Dance’ Awards. The excellent partnership of Linda Young, presenting the work on stage and Liz Hewson at the piano helped put competitors at ease. With a record entry of 140 children participating and generally, an excellent standard, the adjudicators’ task was always going to be difficult.

On Sunday morning the competition continued with 55 young dancers participating in the Middle and Senior Mabel Ryan Awards. Elisabeth Swan welcomed the Mabel Ryan Awards Adjudicator, Jeremy Kerridge, and Mary Stassinopoulos, who joined him to adjudicate the Vacani Award. Julia Ellis presented the work on stage with accompaniment by Liz Hewson. Competition was strong but the highly deserving recipients of the Awards are listed here.

Children’s Awards A

Winner: Marnie Cox-Harrison, Melanie Bull/ Susan Handy
Runners-Up: Hannah Orman, Hayley Cheneler and Hannah-Laura Schlote, Sarah Johnson
Performance Award: Ellyse Platt, Rachel Hayward
Runners-Up: Minnie Stucke, Julie Cronshaw and Margot Hoogers, Melanie Bull/Susan Handy

Children’s Awards B

Winner: Constance Bowes, Judith Wilson
Runners-Up: Isadora France, Julie Cronshaw/Maddy Wynne-Jones and Sophie Baumhardt, Melanie Bull/Susan Handy
Performance Award: Hannah Platt, Rachel Hayward
Runners-Up: Eleanor Loder, Jacqui Everson

Junior Mabel Ryan Award

Winner: Abbie Davidson, Kate Bowers
Runners-Up: Georgina Pettit, Simone Clarke, Emily Pohl, Juliet Locks/Emma Jane Padfield, and Charlie Mellor, Lisa Hunter
Vacani Award: Hannah Gerrard, Kate Simmons
Runner-Up: Aimée Shannon, Jane Scholl

Middle Mabel Ryan Award

Winner: Sasha Abrahams, Julie Cronshaw
Runner-Up: Emily Galvin, Juliet Locks/Lucy Pohl
Vacani Award: Noga Inspector, Julie Cronshaw
Runner-Up: Jasmine Coomber, Judith Wilson

Senior Mabel Ryan Award

Winner: Jasmine Bailey, Elisabeth Swan
Runner-Up: Alex Regan, Jane Worsley
Vacani Award: Olivia Fox, Alison Jenner/ Gillian Toogood
Runner-Up: Polly Smith, Carolyn Parker

A full list of all the award winners, runners-up and those who received commendations and their teachers can be found on www.cecchetti.co.uk/competitionsawards/classicalballetawards/results.

Catherine Hutchon 

Photo (above): Junior and Vacani Winners

Photo credit: Elaine Mayson

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