The Asian Grand Prix is an opportunity for young ballet dancers aged seven to 19 in Asia Pacific to showcase their talent, learn from international dance experts, and receive scholarships and awards to develop their career in dance. For the first time in the history of the competition, regional qualifiers will be held in Australia at the Concourse Theatre in Sydney on 28 and 29 April. Local dancers were previously only able to participate via video audition but now have exposure to the classes, coaching and performances that are usually only experienced during the finals in Hong Kong. Held over five days, the Finals allow dancers to participate in classical and contemporary classes, variation coaching and seminars. In addition to the impressive prizes on offer, competitors will have the chance to dance in a different country and observe dancers from different cultures.
Here, Dance Informa speaks with Amanda Nolan, Australian Regional Qualifier Representative, about the competition and what is on offer for Australian competitors.
This is the first time that the Asian Grand Prix is holding regional qualifiers in Sydney and other Asia-Pacific cities. What has inspired this change, and what benefits does it offer competitors?
“Asian Grand Prix aims to allow ballet experts to share their knowledge in 10 cities in Asia-Pacific, and provide prizes and scholarship opportunities to talented young dancers in the Hong Kong Finals. This competition was founded in 2011, and by its seventh year, the number of interested international dancers has already exceeded the capacity of the venue in Hong Kong. Asian Grand Prix has decided to reach out to meet more dancers. In the regional qualifiers, dancers have the opportunity to take master classes and be seen on stage in theatres. In the Sydney regional 2018, students may learn from Artistic Director of Ballet Manila and former Kirov Ballet dancer Lisa Macuja-Elizalde, and renowned former Royal Ballet principal dancer Leanne Benjamin.”
What does the Asian Grand Prix offer dance students in terms of prizes and opportunities that other competitions don’t?
“In the regional qualifiers in Sydney, there are scholarships from The Royal Ballet Summer School sponsored by Tait Memorial Trust by Leanne Benjamin Fund, Houston Ballet Academy, Queensland Ballet School and AGP Ballet Intensive Program. In the Asian Grand Prix Hong Kong Final, the top Asian Grand Prix winner will receive a HK $50,000 cash prize, and the Youth Grand Prix winner will receive $30,000. In addition, there will be artistic directors and faculty members from high quality international ballet schools on the Jury, including The Australian Ballet School, English National Ballet School, Canada’s National Ballet School, New Zealand School of Dance, and Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts who will select scholarship recipients. Especially exciting is the announcement of the Energetiks Young Artist Scholarship, which will be a $1,500 cash prize toward the recipient’s dance education.“
Can tickets be purchased to watch the Finals for family, friends and non-competitors?
“Yes, tickets for Day 1 Masterclasses and Pre-Comeptitive stage competition (age seven to 12), and Day 2 Masterclasses and Competitive Divisions stage competition (age 13 to 19) are available through online booking at premier.ticketek.com.au.”
What can competitors expect if they reach the finals in Hong Kong?
“Two hundred forty elite dancers from over a thousand international entries will be selected to attend a five-day competition in Hong Kong on 13 to 17 August at the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts. Each day, candidates take classical class, contemporary class, and perform their variations either on stage or run-through with coaches. Sixty finalists will be selected to dance in the final round on the last day of competition.”
What tips and advice do you have for students looking to enter the competition next year?
“Work extra hard to improve, and follow the news of Asian Grand Prix on social media (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter) and website www.asiangrandprix.org to see application dates and entry requirements.”
By Rebecca Martin of Dance Informa.