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RAD Australia announces winner of Australian Advanced 1 Bursary 2024

Winner Tahlia Szumowski. Photo courtesy of Royal Academy of Dance Australia.
Winner Tahlia Szumowski. Photo courtesy of Royal Academy of Dance Australia.

The Royal Academy of Dance (RAD) Australia is thrilled to announce that Tahlia Szumowski from Promenade Dance Studios in Queensland has been awarded the prestigious Australian Advanced 1 Bursary for 2024. This is the second consecutive year that a student from Promenade Dance Studios has won this esteemed bursary, following Ed Cooley’s victory in 2023.

Finalists from Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia and Western Australia, who were selected from state semi-finals, gathered at RAD Australia headquarters on 26 May to compete in the national finals. The event began with an open class conducted by Mitchell Rayner, accompanied by pianist Grant Kennedy. The students also performed a classical variation from set repertoire, and a contrasting Dancer’s Own piece. The competition was adjudicated by the respected Lynne Harrison, RAD examiner and life member, alongside Robert Curran, former Principal Artist with the Australian Ballet.

The adjudicators reflected on the high calibre of talent displayed, commending the teachers for their exceptional training of the next generation of dancers. The technique and artistry of the participants were particularly noted, with much artistic athleticism on display. The dedication and hard work of these dancers were evident in their outstanding performances.

The five talented finalists showcased exceptional physical and mental prowess, impressing the judges and the audience with their dedication and artistry. Tahlia Szumowski’s outstanding performance earned her the top honour this year, excelling in the class and her performance of Sleeping Beauty, Act III, Bluebird female variation, Princess Florine.

The event, which attracted a full house of supporters, was hosted by Lia Cox, Head of Department – Examinations and Regions. “We are incredibly proud of all the dancers who participated today,” said Cox. “Their commitment and excellence are a testament to their hard work and passion for dance. We look forward to following their promising careers.”

The Australian Advanced 1 Bursary is a scholarship of up to $5000 awarded to an outstanding student to further their RAD training. Former participants of the Bursary have gone on to place in The Fonteyn and join professional companies around the world. This year saw the return to live semi-finals for the first time since 2019.

The RAD extends its heartfelt thanks to Bloch Australia, the exclusive sponsor for this event, and to all the staff and supporters who contributed to its success. Their continued endorsement ensures that such events can celebrate and nurture the next generation of ballet talent.

The RAD is committed to promoting and enhancing the understanding, appreciation, and practice of dance and dance teaching globally. We look forward to fostering the next generation of dancers and celebrating their achievements in the years to come.

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