The Fonteyn ballet competition comes to London this October

The Fonteyn ballet competition comes to London this October

The Royal Academy of Dance (RAD) is delighted to announce its annual flagship event The Margot Fonteyn International Ballet Competition (The Fonteyn) comes to London from 22-29 October 2023, marking the first live, in-person The Fonteyn competition since the pandemic.

The Fonteyn (previously known as The Genée) is one of the oldest and most prestigious ballet competitions in the world, representing the pinnacle of achievement for young dancers trained in the RAD syllabus.

Beginning in 1931, the competition has toured the globe and is dedicated to promoting dance, providing educational experiences and recognising excellence in young ballet dancers internationally. A launchpad for a professional career, The Fonteyn offers aspiring dancers the unique opportunity to work with world-renowned choreographers and professionals, as well as the chance to perform on an international stage.

Over 80 dancers will participate in this year’s week-long competition, which will take place in London. Coaching sessions delivered by renowned professionals begin the week, with the semi-finals held on 25-27 October at RAD’s stunning Aud Jebson Studio Theatre in its London HQ.

His Majesty’s Theatre will host the unmissable grand final on 29th October. All candidates will perform a newly choreographed piece created by The Fonteyn’s Guest Choreographer Valentino Zucchetti, First Soloist with The Royal Ballet.

The finalists will take to the historic His Majesty’s stage to each perform their Dancer’s Own variation and their chosen Classical Repertoire variation in front of a judging panel comprising Dame Darcey Bussell, Aaron Watkin Artistic Director of English National Ballet and Amanda Britton, Chief Executive, Principal and Artistic Director of Rambert School.

Finalists will compete for a chance to win the coveted Gold, Silver and Bronze medals and for the Dame Margot Fonteyn Audience Choice Award. A Choreographic Award is available to all candidates who have choreographed their own Dancer’s Own variation and will be selected at the semi-final.

In addition to the medals and cash prizes – and for the first time – all candidates will have the opportunity to be considered for a variety of tuition scholarship opportunities from renowned dance schools across the globe.

A key event in the global dance industry calendar, The Fonteyn 2023 will be a dazzling event for dance, arts and culture lovers and enthusiasts alike, with audience members coming together across the week to experience the joy and wonder of dance.

Lynn Wallis Producer of The Fonteyn 2023 and Artistic Director of RAD from 1994-2016 says: “On behalf of the Royal Academy of Dance, I am delighted that The Fonteyn is coming to London this October and cannot wait to welcome dancers from around the world to this magical competition. The Fonteyn is more than just a competition; it is a chance for young dancers to develop their dance practice, receive expert coaching, share a unique experience with their peers and make new friends. I am sure it will be a moment in their lives they will always remember.”

Dame Darcey Bussell, President of the RAD and a judge at this year’s competition says: “I am truly looking forward to seeing dancers from around the globe take to the stage to perform in this prestigious competition. Audiences – prepare to witness some of the best, upcoming talent in ballet when you come to The Fonteyn semi-finals and finals. It’ll be a wonderful event.”

Darrion Sellman previous Gold medalist and Prix De Lausanne dancer at the Royal Ballet says: “The Fonteyn was an invaluable experience which allowed me to grow as a dancer and artist. Winning the gold medal opened doors I never thought were possible, and granted me the opportunity to progress as a professional dancer.”

Many past winners of the Genée and The Fonteyn have become professional dancers with companies worldwide. For many, their careers have been long and varied as directors, artistic directors, ballet masters, teachers, administrators, dance critics, choreographers, TV producers, and directors.

During the competition week from 22-29 October, numerous wraparound events will be taking place at the RAD for visitors, RAD teachers and dance lovers including:

The Fonteyn: Insights event with Dame Darcey Bussell on 23 October 7-8pm. Ideal for all dance enthusiasts, this will be an inspiring talk by Dame Darcey Bussell with Aaron Watkin, Artistic Director of the English National Ballet.

The Fonteyn: Creative Spaces from 23-27 October, a week-long course designed for dancers studying the RAD Intermediate, Adv Foundation, Adv 1 or Adv 2 syllabi.

(Re) Discovering the Karsavina Syllabus CPD Workshops on 23 October for RAD teachers.

The Bedells Bursary – Join the audience on 29 October for a show celebrating the talents of young ballet dancers.

To find out more about The Fonteyn and to secure your place at the final and semi-final events visit: