I have had an amazing weekend. After the preliminaries on Saturday it was so exciting to discover I was one of only two girls in my class to reach the semi-final of this year’s competition. Sunday was busy from beginning to end with class, coaching and warm-up before the semi-finals began at 3.00pm. Elena Glurdjidze, Lead Principal with English National Ballet taught our class both days. Gary Avis, Marguerite Porter and Deirdre Eyden made up the Judiciary Panel for the semi-final.
Unfortunately, no girls from White Lodge gained places in the Final but, to be honest, the odds were against us as the numbers below reveal. The Young British Dancer of the Year competition is open to those aged 15-17 on the date of the preliminaries. For example, if you turned 15 two days beforehand you could enter – but likewise if you turned 18 the day after the preliminaries, you could also enter. This means that entrants range across four academic years from Year 10 to Year 13.
Eleven schools participated in the competition this year. The 32 semi-finalists came from five of those schools and were made up of 19 girls and 13 boys. However, one boy withdrew due to injury, leaving 31 semi-finalists.
All 12 semi-finalist boys were students of The Royal Ballet School; three from the Upper School and nine from the Lower School at White Lodge. Only four boys from White Lodge failed to make the Final.
Of the 19 girls in today’s semi-final, eight were from our Upper School, five from White Lodge, three from English National Ballet School and three from other Schools [see below]. Six of our Upper School girls and two from ENB School made it through to the Final. Interestingly, both ENB girls had trained at White Lodge. All of the girls who made it through to the Final were in Years 12 and 13.
Our Upper School students were amazing. Their technical ability and artistry particularly shone through in the Solo performances. Prior to announcing the finalists, Gary Avis congratulated us all for reaching the semi-finals and we were given a certificate.
Girls: Isabel Lubach, Grace Blundell, Naomi Bottomer, Julia Roscoe, Estelle Bovay, Isabelle Brouwers, Grace Horne, Chisato Katsura,
Boys: Henry Dowden, Barnaby Rook Bishop, William Beagley, Tom Bradshaw, Joseph Sissens, Scott McKenzie, Augustus Payne, Jerome Barnes
The Final will be held at the Linbury Theatre of the Royal Opera House on Saturday 9th March. This year I will not be taking part, but as I have my final audition for our Upper School the next day, I will make good use of this extra time to prepare. I’m looking forward to entering again next year and to hopefully getting further in the competition.