A panoply of talents at the RAD Festival of Dance

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The Royal Academy of Dance presented a hugely successful 2021 dance festival in Perth over the long June weekend, coming back to full force this year after a slightly abridged event in 2020.

Each year, the Festival offers dance students, within and beyond the RAD community, a place to develop their skills and perform on a professional stage in front of the greatest professionals in the industry. More than 400 students entered this year despite the interruption of their studies in 2020; a number the RAD attributes to the candidate’s dedication and commitment to excellence.

The judges were Aurélien Scannella (artistic director, West Australian Ballet), Sandy Delasalle-Scannella (principal ballet mistress and artistic associate, West Australian Ballet) and Melissa McCabe (semi-soloist with West Australian Ballet and former dancer with The Australian Ballet and Alberta Ballet). The other judges included Brooke Jacobs, Justin Rutzou, Scott Eltsermann, Diana de Vos and Denise Nunn. Longtime supporter David McAllister was unable to attend due to lockdown restrictions.

The judges agreed that the standard in all areas was very high and selected the main scholarship winners as follows:

Evelyn Hodgkinson scholarship (10-12 years): Millie Cottey (formed by Perth Classical and Contemporary Coaching) with Phoebe sedgman (Graduate College of Dance) as a finalist.

Gay Cruickshank Scholarship (13-14 years old) Rhett davies with Kyla payne finalist (both trained by Perth Classical and Contemporary Coaching).

Joan Stacy scholarship (15-16 years) Sonja braunl (formed by the Perth School of Ballet) and Isabelle Lockyer (Graduate College of Dance) as a finalist.

Linley Wilson Scholarship (17 years and over) Zane Smith-Taylor with Aimee Yong as a finalist (both trained by Perth Classical and Contemporary Coaching).

Other notable highlights include the Grishko Prize, which was also awarded to Rhett davies and the Claire Marshall Trophy for National Dance which was awarded to Olivia devine from the Perth Ballet School.

The annual David McAllister Cup has been awarded to Perth Classical and Contemporary Coaching.

A prestigious new medal was introduced into the program in 2021 to commemorate RAD celebrating 100 years of teaching dance around the world. The Centennial Medal was awarded at three levels as follows:

Junior – Phoebe Sedgman (Graduate College of Dance), Intermediate – Rhett Davies (Classic and Contemporary Coaching from Perth) and Senior – Zane Smith-Taylor (Classic and Contemporary Perth Training).

These laureates demonstrated “exceptional artistry and performance for an audience”.

The Festival culminated on Monday June 7th with a gala evening featuring a performance by guest artists Carina Robert and Jesse Homes, Demi Soloists of the West Australian Ballet. The duo performed Natural dualities choreographed by Matej Perunicic. They were joined on stage by 3rd year students from the West Australian Academy of Performing Arts (WAAPA) who performed baroque, choreographed by Kim McCarthy. The full list of winners can be downloaded here.

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