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The Genée

The Genée International Ballet Competition, named after RAD's first president Dame Adeline Genée DBE, is our flagship annual event.

Known simply as ‘the Genée’, it is one of the most prestigious ballet competitions in the world, attracting the finest young dancers trained in the RAD syllabus, from around the globe. Candidates receive a unique opportunity to work with renowned choreographers and teachers for five days before performing at the semi-finals, and then the final, where they compete for a range of medals.


The competition started in 1931, when the Adeline Genée Gold Medal was awarded to Felicity Garratt. Other medals were later added: the silver (1934), bronze (1956), and gold and silver for male dancers (1938). The Genée has taken place almost every year since, and is now a truly global event.

In 2002 the RAD took the decision to hold the competition outside London for the first time, taking it to Australia where Sydney Opera House played host to a record number of candidates. Following that success, the Genée has now been hosted around the world: 

  • A partnership with Birmingham Royal Ballet saw Birmingham host the Genée in 2003.
  • Athens hosted the competition as part of the Cultural Olympiad in 2004.
  • Hong Kong welcomed the Genée in 2006.
  • 2008 saw its North American debut in Toronto.
  • In 2009, Singapore played host.
  • 2010 saw the return of the competition to London.
  • South Africa in 2011 hosted the event in Cape Town, adding a community legacy project, Sizodanisa – ‘Let's Dance!’
  • Wellington, New Zealand, hosted the competition in 2012 where the membership raised NZ$123,000 towards the event.
  • In 2013, the Genée was hosted for the first time in Scotland (Glasgow). You can read more about the 2013 competition on the corporate website.
  • 2014's competition took place in Antwerp, Belgium. You can read more about the 2014 competition on the corporate website.
  • 2015 saw a very successful return to London and was streamed online for the first time.
  • Genée 2016 was hosted in Sydney, Australia.
  • Lisbon hosted the 2017 competition, marking its debut in Portugal.
  • In 2018, the competition was hosted in Hong Kong.

A stepping stone to a career

Past Genée medalists have gone on to work for some of the best ballet companies around the world: 

  • The Royal Ballet
  • Royal Ballet of Flanders
  • The Mariinsky Ballet
  • American Ballet Theatre
  • National Ballet of Canada
  • Birmingham Royal Ballet
  • Estonia National Ballet
  • Northern Ballet
  • Australian Ballet
  • English National Ballet
  • San Francisco Ballet
  • The Hong Kong Ballet 

Download a list of past Genée medalists