Cecchetti Classical Ballet Awards 2015
21 March 2016
Reports from the Awards weekend at Sadler’s Wells, 21st–22nd November 2015
Lower Junior, Junior and Middle Mabel Ryan Awards
The Awards on Saturday 21st November were truly inspirational. The Lilian Baylis Studio Theatre, Sadler’s Wells, London was a superb venue befitting the hard work, enthusiasm and dedication of the young competitors. Our adjudicators for the day were Sara Gallie and Gillian Robinson, bringing with them a wealth of experience both as former professional dancers and now as teachers. Sara, who chose the overall Award winners and runners-up, gave some valuable critique to all. She highlighted, amongst other things, the importance of projecting the eye line and focus beyond the fingertips, demonstrating this in an effortlessly beautiful arabesque line. Sara also asked the dancers to work on holding their turnout whilst jumping, and she emphasised the importance of not overturning in the croisé alignment.
In adjudicating the Cecchetti Associates Performance Award and Vacani Awards, Gillian explained that she was looking for a natural and musically sensitive performance, rather than a contrived facial expression. In this respect some dancers had really come into their own during the set solo.
Liz Hewson worked her magic on the piano yet again, somehow managing keep one eye on her music and the other on the dancers, while Linda Young’s calm and self-assured presentation of the work on stage eased any nerves. The dedication and commitment of the organisers led by Judith Wilson and Elizabeth James with their Cecchetti Group members’ team and helpers was tangible on a day that ran smoothly and efficiently, and was greatly appreciated by all.
It was exciting to have witnessed amongst the competitors the firm foundations of the Cecchetti style coming through, particularly in the Middle section where the attack and coverage of the ground in the allegro sections and the dance was wonderful to see. I am sure I was not the only one who came away at the end of the day inspired and eager to continue the good work.
Senior Mabel Ryan Award
The Senior Mabel Ryan Award took place on the Sunday morning of the Awards weekend and Faculty Chair, Catherine Hutchon warmly welcomed the adjudicators Terry Wright and Mary Stassinopoulos. Alison Jenner presented the competitors’ work on stage and put them at their ease. And once more Liz Hewson provided expert accompaniment for the class. The students looked immaculate and the quality of the work shown was a tribute to their teachers. The adjudicators had a difficult task, but the winner of the Vacani Award was Jasmine Coomber, a pupil of Judith Wilson and the runner-up was Patrick Gill, a pupil of KS Dance. The overall competition winner was Danielle Burgess also a pupil of KS Dance and the runner-up was Sasha Abrahams a pupil of Julie Cronshaw.
Cecchetti Classical Ballet Vocational Awards
The Vocational Awards, which is a regular date for talent spotting, took place on Sunday 22nd November, with an exceptionally large turn-out. The entries included pupils from some of the UK’s leading vocational dance schools, including Central School of Ballet, Elmhurst School for Dance, English National Ballet School, KS Dance and Tring Park School for the Performing Arts, and it was particularly encouraging to see how well so many young dancers now present themselves during a ballet class. The Vocational classes on stage were taken by Martin Dutton and accompanied by Olga Mazour.
On the judging panel for 2015 was Darius James, director of Ballet Cymru, and Anita Young, a former soloist with The Royal Ballet who is now a well-respected teacher working at The Royal Ballet Upper School. The pair watched nearly 60 dancers, but to many watching, it was clear from almost the beginning that the winner of the Fewster Cecchetti Scholarship would be Chloe Hollow of English National Ballet School. She danced beautifully throughout, with a real sense of graceful movement and vivacity, which was also apparent in her performance of the variation by the first solo Shade in La Bayadère. The runner-up for the Fewster was Barnaby Quarendon of Tring Park School, who constantly drew the eye during the ballet class but perhaps could have chosen to perform a solo more appropriate to his talents. On the whole, the young men proved stronger during the ballet class section of the competition, but were slightly disappointing in their classical variations, whereas some of the young women really blossomed whilst dancing theirs.
In the other categories, the Promising Male Award went to Matthew Keller of Tring Park School; the Promising Female Award to Wiktoria Byczkowska, also from Tring; and the Barbara Geoghegan Award winner was Misaki Satake from Elmhurst, who danced a very nice account of Aurora’s Act III variation from The Sleeping Beauty. Saho Nozaki was runner-up, also from Elmhurst.
The Promising Young Dancer award went to Kaine Ward from Tring Park School, and the Jennifer Morgan Award for Musicality went to Gwenllian Davies from Elmhurst. In addition to the winners, I would also like to single out Elmhurst’s Victoria Grassmugg, who danced Aurora’s Act I variation in a truly classical style. Congratulations to all.
Jonathan Gray, Editor, Dancing Times (Article published courtesy of the Dancing Times)
CECCHETTI CLASSICAL BALLET AWARDS RESULTS 2015
LOWER JUNIOR MABEL RYAN
Tilda Marriage Massey (Julie Cronshaw)
Emmeline Amies (Jane Scholl / Holly Unnuk)
Nina Hann (Rachel Hayward)
Harry Wells (Rachel Hayward)
CECCHETTI ASSOCIATES PERFORMANCE AWARD
Amelia Gruselle (Philippa McMeechan)
Margret Barrett (Sandra Powell)
Darcey Shaw (Jane Scholl / Holly Unnuk)
JUNIOR MABEL RYAN AWARD
Emma Cantone (Penny Kay)
Elinor Holme (Judith Wilson)
Julia Petrou (Juliet Locks / Lucy Pohl)
Jessica Robbings (Mary Goodhew)
Shimako Kato (Tanith Waldie)
Grace Gordon (Judith Wilson)
India Jarman-Tew (Philippa McMeechan)
MIDDLE MABEL RYAN AWARD
Ashley Cheung (Mary Goodhew)
Abbi Johnson (Julie Cronshaw)
Hebe Salmon (Jane Worsley)
Eliza Tracey (Penny Kay)
Chloe Hatton (Philippa McMeechan)
Lily Armah (Faye Harmsworth)
Aoife Walter (Julie Cronshaw)
SENIOR MABEL RYAN AWARD
Danielle Burgess (Kate Simmons / Gillian Hurst)
Sasha Abrahams (Julie Cronshaw)
Jasmine Coomber (Judith Wilson)
Patrick Gill (Kate Simmons / Gillian Hurst)
FEWSTER CECCHETTI SCHOLARSHIP
Chloe Hollow (English National Ballet School)
Barnaby Quarendon (Tring Park School for the Performing Arts)
Matthew Keller (Tring Park School for the Performing Arts)
Wiktoria Byczkowska (Tring Park School for the Performing Arts)
BARBARA GEOGHEGAN AWARD
Misaki Satake (Elmhurst School for Dance)
Saho Nozaki (Elmhurst School for Dance)
(Elmhurst School for Dance)
PROMISING YOUNG DANCER
Kaine Ward (Tring Park School for the Performing Arts)
JENNIFER MORGAN AWARD FOR MUSICALITY
Gwenllian Davies (Elmhurst School for Dance)