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Cecchetti International Classical Ballet Competition and Gala

Cecchetti International Classical Ballet Competition and Gala

30 August 2011

A spectacular evening at the Lowry, Salford.

The Cecchetti International Classical Ballet Gala Performance took place on 30th July 2011 at the Lowry, Salford, in the Quays Theatre, and it was a spectacular evening. Forty four competitors from: Australia, Canada, Italy, Japan, Spain, Malta, United Kingdom and United States had been whittled down during the week to eighteen finalists. Each performed both contemporary and classical solos, and the standard of work was very gratifying.

The event was organised by the committee of the Cecchetti Society UK under their chair Elisabeth Swan, and was introduced on stage by her and Betty Seibert, chair of Cecchetti International Classical Ballet.

Finalists solos were adjudicated by a distinguished panel: Mark Baldwin, Richard Glasstone, Brenda Last, David Lloyd and Errol Pickford. While they deliberated, the audience were treated to some very special performances – all with dancers who have past or present connections to the Cecchetti Method: Swan Lake Act I solo from the pas de quatre, danced by Ruth Brill; "Switch", performed by dancers from Phoenix Dance Theatre; an excerpt from La Sylphide danced by Simone Clarke and Martin Dutton; four excerpts from Enigma Variations danced by Jonathan Payn, Francesca Filpi, Jeremy Kerridge and Ruth Brill.

Then came the adjudication – a really difficult challenge combining Contemporary and Classical work. There was also an audience vote, won by Sara Mambelli, pupil of Stefania Sansavini of Italy. Scholarships and prizes were awarded to dancers from Italy, Japan, UK and USA; and the overall winner of the Cecchetti International Ballet Competition was Ashleigh McKimmie, 17, of Australia. Her contemporary solo was entitled Awakening, and her classical solo was from Paquita,the wedding variation,which she danced with assurance and a lovely quality of movement. Ashleigh is a pupil of Anne Butler studying at the Victoria College of the Arts.

The Gala ended with a buffet meal at the theatre – a most enjoyable evening, giving us a renewed enthusiasm for the global future of the Cecchetti Method of classical training. Our deepest gratitude is due to all the organisers, here and abroad, and to the staff at the Lowry who made us so welcome. Also of course to all the competitors without whom none of this would be possible.

Gillian McGregor

CICB Competition 2011 – Winners and Scholarships

Ashleigh McKimmie, 17, Australia, Enrico Cecchetti Award

Jesse Milligan, 18, UK, Most Promising Dancer Award

Sara Mambelli, 16, Italy, Audience Choice Award

Hailee Karam, 18, USA (CCA), Musicality Award

Chelsea Cambron, 18, USA (CUSA), Contemporary Award

Scholarships were awarded to the following competitors

Nathan Hunt, 15, UK, Royal Conservatoire of Scotland – one week summer school

Lloyd Petchey, 17, UK, Australian Ballet School – one week summer school

Melissa Eguchi, 14, USA (CUSA), School of Alberta Ballet – 1 year tuition

Tessa Peterson, 18, USA (CUSA), KS Dance Ltd – 1 year tuition

Rerika Kono, 19, Japan, Italian Summer School

Alessandro Caggegi , 15, UK, Italian Summer School


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