The Royal Opera House hosted the fourteenth Young British Dancer of the Year (YBDY) on Saturday 13 March. As the only UK ballet competition to recognise British and British trained talent, YBDY gives young dancers of 15 – 17yrs the opportunity to be coached by leading dance professionals and perform in front of a paying audience and a panel of top dancers and artistic directors from the international ballet world.
This year, 71 students from 11 different UK schools entered the competition which ran over two consecutive weekends. The sixteen finalists performed two classical variations after being coached by Royal Ballet Principals, Mara Galeazzi and Johan Kobborg.
An impressive panel of judges chaired by Aaron S Watkin, Artistic Director of Semperopera Ballet Dresden, included Kevin O’Hare, the newly appointed Director of The Royal Ballet and Tamara Rojo, Director and Principal Ballerina of English National Ballet.
This year’s winner of the sought-after title of Young British Dancer of the Year, was Chisato Katsura, a 1st year Royal Ballet School student. Isabelle Brouwers of English National Ballet School was awarded second place and one of the youngest entrants in the competition, Jerome Barnes, also from The Royal Ballet School, came third. A number of non-vocational students were also awarded places at prestigious Summer Schools.
Ricki Gail Conway, who has sponsored the competition since its inception in 2000, stated: “It is really exciting that Young British Dancer of the Year has become such an important fixture in the British dance calendar over the past ten years. The competition continues to offer young dancers the valuable opportunity to develop their skills and artistry and to share their talents with the public in a sell-out performance. YBDY is also an opportunity to celebrate the tremendous talent we have in this country.”
Jerome Barnes, a Year 10 student at The Royal Ballet Lower School, White Lodge, was one of the youngest dancers entered in the competition. Whilst the Lower School has had a winner and several finalists in the past, Jerome is very young to be a prize winner. Diane van Schoor, Ballet Principal of the Lower School said: “He is a most gifted dancer and the choice of his solos from 'Giselle Peasant Pas' and 'Don Quixote' perfectly highlighted his great aplomb and versatile approach to performing. He was thrilled with his prize and overjoyed by the invaluable experience that the Young British Dancer of the Year competition afforded him and which will stand him in good stead for the future.”
For more information please contact:
Sarah Eliot-Cohen, Head of Development
Tel: +44 (0)20 7845 7070 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
• First: Chisato Katsura (The Royal Ballet School)
• Second: Isabelle Brouwers (English National Ballet School)
• Third: Jerome Barnes (The Royal Ballet School).
Additional awards were given to:
• The Sibley Dowell Award for a promising student with potential: Barnaby Rook Bishop (The Royal Ballet School)
• Commendation: William Beagley (The Royal Ballet School)
• Commendation: Joseph Sissens (The Royal Ballet School)
For non-vocational students, prizes of places at Summer Schools were awarded to:
• Saskia Gregson-Williams (Royal Ballet School International Summer School)
• Charlotte Levy (English National Ballet Summer School)
• Masha Gorelik (Central School of Ballet Summer School)
• Rowan Parker (Wells Weekend)
• Phoebe Liggins (Yorkshire Ballet Seminars)
The 2013 Judges were:
• Aaron S Watkin (Chairman) – Artistic Director of the Semperopera Ballet Dresden and former Principal of Ballet Frankfurt
• Gary Avis – Principal Character Artist of The Royal Ballet
• Deidre Eyden – Former Soloist of The Royal Ballet
• Christopher Hampson – Artistic Director of Scottish Ballet and former Soloist with English National Ballet
• Kevin O’Hare – Director of The Royal Ballet and former Principal of Birmingham Royal Ballet
• David Nixon OBE – Artistic Director of Northern Ballet and former Principal of National Ballet of Canada and Deutsche Oper Ballett
• Marguerite Porter – Former Principal of The Royal Ballet
• Tamara Rojo – Artistic Director and Principal Ballerina of English National Ballet
Previous Winners of YBDY include:
• Lauren Cuthbertson (2001) Principal Dancer, The Royal Ballet
• Joseph Caley (2003) Principal Dancer, Birmingham Royal Ballet
• Yasmine Naghdi (2009) First Artist, The Royal Ballet
• William Bracewell (2008) First Artist, Birmingham Royal Ballet