Top judges announced for Genée competition

09/06/2011 13:09:00

David Nixon, Iain MacDonald and Elizabeth Triegaardt will judge the upcoming Genée International Ballet Competition at Artscape in Cape Town.

Excitement is mounting in dance circles as the Genée International Ballet Competition draws closer.

This prestigious event is the flagship event of the Royal Academy of Dance (RAD) and is dedicated to promoting and rewarding standards of excellence in ballet dancers internationally. The competition takes place at the Artscape Theatre complex from 30 September to 9 October. It is named after Dame Adeline Genée , one of the RAD¹s most inspirational and historic founders. The Patron of the RAD is Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth ll.

This year the judging panel will be chaired by David Nixon, OBE, the Artistic Director of Northern Ballet in the UK. He will be joined by fellow judges Iain MacDonald, the Artistic Director of the South African Ballet Theatre and Professor Elizabeth Triegaardt, the CEO of Cape Town City Ballet.


David Nixon is in his tenth year as Artistic Director for Northern Ballet. He trained as a dancer, first in his hometown of Chatham, Ontario and then at the National Ballet School of Canada where his training began in earnest. It was during his time there that he first became interested in choreography, helping to revive a choreographic workshop with the approval of school director Betty Oliphant. After further training in Europe he returned to Canada to train with Erik Bruhn and the great Russian teacher, Eugene Valukin. His career began at the National Ballet of Canada where he danced the lead roles in the classical and contemporary repertoire. In 1985 he joined the Deutsche Oper Ballet in Berlin as principal dancer where he won the Critics Award for Best Male Performance (1987) and continued to increase his own choreographic output. This included producing and directing a successful mixed programme - David Nixon¹s Liaisons - at the Hebbel Theatre, Berlin in 1990. Nixon left Berlin for a series of principal guest artist positions with National Ballet of Canada, Bayerisches Staatsballett, Munich and Royal Winnipeg Ballet before returning to Deutsche Oper Ballet in 1994 as first ballet master. His guest artist credits also include Birmingham Royal Ballet; Komische Oper; Deutsche Staatsoper; Hamburg Ballet and Sydney City Ballet. In 1994 Mr. Nixon became Artist Director of BalletMet in Columbus, Ohio USA. During his six-years with the company he added sixteen world and fifteen company premieres to the repertoire. Companies in Canada, the USA and South Africa have since staged David¹s productions. Nixon came to Northern Ballet in 2001 and has added an impressive array of new works into the repertoire including the hugely popular Madame Butterfly, Wuthering Heights, the Gershwin extravaganza, I Got Rhythm, Swan Lake, A Midsummer¹s Night Dream, Peter Pan, Dracula, The Three Musketeers, A Sleeping Beauty Tale, The Nutcracker and Hamlet. His dark and exciting new production of Hamlet toured in Spring 2008. His work has received recognition: A Midsummer Night¹s Dream and The Three Musketeers were nominated for an Olivier award; The Three Musketeers won a Manchester Evening News (MEN) Theatre Award and Madame Butterfly and A Midsummer Night¹s Dream were nominated for an MEN Award; David was voted Director of the Year by readers of Dance Europe in 2003 and 2006; and Northern Ballet received the audience award at the Critics¹ Circle National Dance Awards for three successive years (2004, 2005, 2006) and the Patron's Award in 2009.

Recently David has reproduced The Nutcracker in Slovenia and The Three Musketeers in Tallin, Estonia. In January 2010 he was awarded an OBE for his services to dance in the Queen¹s New Year Honours list.


Born in Johannesburg, Iain Macdonald joined PACT Ballet in 1991 as a corps de ballet member directly after matriculating from the Johannesburg Art School. He danced the company for almost ten years during which time he was rapidly promoted to Principal (1996) roles and became well known for his princely bearing and clean technique on stage. He has guested internationally in Copenhagen and toured Taiwan with the ballet A Midsummer Night’s Dream as Oberon. Iain has also been the winner of numerous awards such as the S.A. Adeline Geneè Silver Trophy, The Nederburg award and the FNB Vita Award for Ballet and has appeared in several music videos for Nataniël. Following the closure of the State Theatre MacDonald choreographed, produced and directed The Nutcracker together Karen Beukes and Angela Malan and which was performed at the SA State Theatre in December 2000. Iain is one of the six founder members of The South African Ballet Theatre (SABT) and a Principal Dancer with the company. He runs the popular Ballet for Adults classes in the evenings and has choreographed various works for the annual Valentine / Autumn Enchantment and Arts Alive seasons. His roles for SABT have included Albrecht in Giselle, Don José in Carmen, Siegfried in Swan Lake, and the Snow Prince and the Fiancé / Prince in The Nutcracker, Dr Coppelius in Coppélia, the Winter pas de deux in Sean Bovim’s I Will Say Goodbye Tomorrow (for the Royal Danish Ballet 2002 collaboration), Esther Nasser¹s Pieces of You, Romeo and Tybalt in Romeo and Juliet, Poet in Les Sylphides and Espada in Don Quixote. In February 2004 he underwent a hip-replacement operation and has successfully returned to full-time dancing. Whilst recovering from his surgery he took the roles of Von Rothbart in Swan Lake, Drosselmeyer in The Nutcracker and Shaggy, the Wolf in Rock-a-Tutu. He was also one of the six choreographers chosen by director Ian von Memerty to choreograph for the production. In September 2006, Macdonald accepted the position of Director: Fundraising, Marketing & Development at SABT and in January 2009, he took over the reins from his wife Karen and is currently Artistic Director.


Born in Pretoria, Prof Triegaardt matriculated from Hyde Park High School Johannesburg. In 1966 she graduated with a BSc majoring in pure Mathematics, from the University of Cape Town. In 1967 she joined CAPAB Ballet Company working as a Principal dancer and Principal Ballet Mistress until her retirement from the stage in 1990. She created many roles that included the following: the Sphinx in Drie Diere (Paeper) Undine in Undine (Paeper), Aegina in Spartacus (Paeper) Fairy Godmother in Cinderella (Paeper) Ghost of Christmas-to-Come in A Christmas Carol (Paeper) Charlie Girl in Concerto for Charlie (Paeper) Snow Queen in The Nutcracker (Poole) Semiramis in Raymonda (Furber and Rodrigues) Tonya in Zhivago (Prokovsky) and Hera in Orpheus in the Underworld (Paeper). She received the Nederburg prize for contribution to ballet and for her role of the Lilac Fairy in Sleeping Beauty and in 2003 and 2009, awards from the Western Cape Premier for meritorious service to the Arts in the Province. From 1986 to 2007, she was the Director of the UCT School of Dance, formerly the UCT Ballet School, and introduced both contemporary and African dance majors into the curriculum; she also succeeded in having the first university degree programme in dance recognised in South Africa. She resigned as Head of the Dept in 2007, but remains a lecturer at Associate-Professor level. In 1997 she was appointed as Executive Chairman of the Cape Town City Ballet, formerly the CAPAB Ballet Co, and spearheaded the transformation of the Company into a Section 21 not-for-profit organization, producing world-class ballets for performance throughout South Africa. She resigned her post as Chairman of the Board in February, 2004, but remains the Executive Director of the Company.

For the Genée International Ballet Competition candidates must be trained in the RAD method. All entrants have the chance to work with and learn from distinguished dance professionals and choreographers over 5 intensive days. Those selected as Finalists will compete for a coveted gold, silver or bronze medal in the Final, as well as significant prize money - R50,000, R30,000 and R20,000 respectively. The live audience at the Final is able to vote for their favourite candidate who receives a special Audience Choice Award. Luke Rittner, the Chief Executive of the RAD since 1999, will hand out the award.

Competitors perform three solos, a 19th Century classical repertoire Variation, a 20th Century variation (by Kenneth MacMillan or Frederick Ashton) and a variation exclusively choreographed for the competitors. The coach for the 19th Century variations is Christopher Hampson and for the 20th Century variation is Lynn Wallis. The two specially commissioned variations, male and female, will this year be choreographed by Capetonian Kirsten Isenberg and will be notated by former CAPAB Ballet Principal dancer, Eduard Greyling, using the Benesh Movement Notation method to ensure the solos are saved for artistic and educational purposes.

The Genée International Ballet Competition takes place from 30 September till 9 October at Artscape. The Semi Finals take place in the Theatre venue over two days, on Thursday 6 and Friday 7 October from 10:30am until approximately 3:30pm and Final will be held in the Opera House on Sunday 9 October at 6:30pm. The Genée Dance Challenge is on Saturday 8 October at 5:00pm. Tickets For the Semi Finals and Genée Dance Challenge cost R120 per day. Tickets for the Final cost from R200 to R350, all via Computicket or Artscape Dial-A-Seat on 021 421 7695. Group booking discounts are available. Join the Genée International Ballet Competition on Facebook and Twitter @Genee2011SA to keep up to date with all the exciting happenings.

Notes to Editors:

The RAD is an international dance teacher education and training organization with over 13,000 members in 79 countries. The Academy promotes the knowledge, practice and understanding of dance internationally through the education and training of teachers. The Academy also has the largest international ballet examinations board.

For all media enquiries and accreditation requests, please call Allison Foat at DIVA PR on 021 462 7384 or 083 635 6312. Account:
Allison Foat
021 462 7384
083 635 6312
Royal Academy of Dance UK
Related Venue:
Artscape Theatre Complex, DF Malan Street Foreshore Cape Town Western Cape South Africa