Burgess Hill dancer among 15 finalists in international ballet competition

A young dancer from Burgess Hill has been announced as one of 15 finalists in an international ballet contest out of 97 candidates from across the globe.

Hannah Martin will be one of four British dancers competing in The Margot Fonteyn International Ballet Competition final on Thursday, September 9.

An esteemed judging panel – led by The Royal Academy of Dance (RAD) president Dame Darcey Bussell – selected Hannah out of a record number of applicants, and she will now learn a commissioned solo choreographed by Ashley Page, former artistic director of Scottish Ballet.

Sign up to our daily SussexWorld Today newsletter

Hannah said: ““Having dreamt of being a part of this competition for many years, to have progressed through to the final 15 is difficult for me to even comprehend.

Hannaah Martin from Burgess Hill is one of 15 finalists in The Margot Fonteyn International Ballet Competition run by the Royal Academy of Dance. Picture on the left: Johan Persson SUS-210726-135152001

“Having trained in my garage for the most part of the beginning of this year due to the pandemic, preparing my entry for The Fonteyn was one of the things that kept me going.

“I didn’t want to let these exceptionally unfortunate circumstances prevent me from going after my dream. I am so grateful to my teachers and family for their support, without them this definitely would not have been possible.

“I am very much looking forward to being a part of the online final and am enjoying preparing my final entries for submission.”

Members of the public are invited to watch this historic final online for the first time in the competition’s history, which this year marks 90 years since its inception.

This is also the first time RAD’s flagship event, previously named the Genée, has taken place under its new name.

Mary Goodhew – Royal Academy of Dance teacher and head of Dance at Ibstock Place School and director of Dance Gems – who taught Hannah, said: “All at Hannah’s Dance Gems School and also Ibstock Place School, School of Dance are thrilled at Hannah’s selection to be in the final of this prestigious ballet competition.

“Hannah’s development from young dancer into a polished graduate performer is not only an outstanding achievement but with only fifteen talented dancers selected from around the world is an inspiration to all young British dancers.The Royal Academy of Dance’s Margot Fonteyn International Ballet Competition is highly regarded in the world of dance and is like the Ballet Olympics of the profession.

“We wish Hannah every success in the event and in her future career. Exciting times lie ahead for Hannah!”

The final, hosted by Dame Darcey Bussell and RAD artistic director Gerard Charles, will take place on Thursday, September 9 at 7.30pm.

The judges for the final are Dame Darcey Bussell, director of The Royal Ballet Kevin O’Hare, Christopher Hampson, and Irek Mukhamedov, Ballet Master at Opera Paris Ballet.

Dame Darcey Bussell said: “We have been so inspired to see the passion of young dancers across the world, who have continued to work so hard and share their love for ballet, despite such a challenging year.

“Myself and my fellow judges, Christopher Hampson and Sir David Bintley, hugely enjoyed watching the talent, technique and variety displayed by all 97 candidates who entered the final stage of the first online Fonteyn competition.

“It gives me enormous pleasure to announce the finalists for The Margot Fonteyn International Ballet Competition 2021, and I would like to extend my heartfelt congratulations to everyone who took part.”

To purchase tickets to watch from www.royalacademyofdance.org/fonteyn2021