Cecchetti Classical Ballet Vocational Awards 2017
21 December 2017
Richard Glasstone reports
It was most encouraging that as many as 56 students, from a selection of 9 Vocational Ballet Courses, had registered to participate in the 2017 Cecchetti Vocational Awards, held on Sunday 19th November at the Sadler’s Wells Theatre’s Lilian Baylis Studio. However, the time it takes to assess each applicant fairly does regularly present the organisers of this event with some logistical problems.
Initially, the applicants were divided into three groups, each group to be seen in an unset classical ballet class. These classes were carefully structured by Shannon Parker and sympathetically accompanied by Olga Mazour, Ms Parker’s often challenging enchaînements were confidently tackled by the students. Inevitably the setting and teaching of each exercise took up most of the time allotted to each class. This left very little time to assess each student individually. Personally, I would have liked to see each candidate perform a series of grands jetés en tournant – there is no surer way of seeing whether that student understands the dynamic connection between the Cecchetti ports de bras and allegro work.
None of this could have made it easy for our two distinguished adjudicators, David Nixon OBE and Jessica Clarke to reach their verdicts; but I was certainly most impressed by the perspicacity of their choices as well as by the wise practical advice they gave to the students before the names of the winners were announced.
In the Fewster Cecchetti Scholarship section of the Vocational Awards, No 8 Serina Faull and No 13 Ai Sa Mok, both from Elmhurst Ballet School, received Commendations. The Fewster Award for a promising male dancer was No 46 Basil James whilst the promising female award winner was No 14 Natalia Watt – both from Tring Park School. The runner-up to the Fewster Scholarship was No 5 Georgia Smart from Elmhurst Ballet School and the winner was No 35 Molly Hall from English National Ballet School.
In the Barbara Geoghegan section, all the following students were from Elmhurst Ballet School: The Promising Young Dancer Award went to No 10 Lin Fujimoto, the Musicality Award went to No 47 William Brooke, and No 20 Tokiko Sosao received a Commendation. The runner-up to the Geoghegan Vocational Award was No 12, Yuzu Hikosaka and the winner was No 44 Reo Morikawa. His spectacular performance of Basilio’s Don Quixote Act 3 variation brought the house down!