Royal Academy of Dance

Genée International Ballet Competition History

The Genée International Ballet Competition, fondly known as ‘The Genée’ is the RAD’s flagship annual event and is named after Dame Adeline Genée DBE, co-founder of the Association of Operatic Dancing, as the RAD was then known.

The competition originated quite humbly in 1931 as the ‘Adeline Genée Gold Medal’ and was introduced as an additional incentive for candidates who had passed the Solo Seal examination. Felicity Garratt was the first recipient of this award with a silver medal and then a bronze medal added in 1934 and 1956 respectively, and both gold and silver medals introduced for male dancers in 1938. The award continued to progress and develop into a competition format and remarkably it has taken place almost every year since 1931, even during the Second World War. In 2002, however Luke Rittner, Chief Executive, took the landmark decision to hold the competition outside London in order to embrace its international spirit taking it to Australia where Sydney Opera House played host to a record number of candidates.

Following that success the Academy did not looked back. A partnership with Birmingham Royal Ballet saw Birmingham host the Genée in 2003; Athens hosted a stunning event at the Herod Odeon Atticus under the auspices of the Cultural Olympiad Greece 2004 and the Genée has also been welcomed by Hong Kong, Toronto, Singapore, London and Cape Town.