Young Burgess Hill dancer wins bronze in international ballet competition

A young dancer from Burgess Hill has been announced as one of four medallists and the only British winner in a ballet competition which saw candidates from across the globe compete.

Hannah Martin was awarded bronze in The Margot Fonteyn International Ballet Competition final on Thursday, September 9, when the prestigious contest took place online for the first time in its 90-year history.

Hannah – who has been trained by the Royal Academy of Dance (RAD) teacher Mary Goodhew – won the medal after being selected as one of 15 finalists out of a record number of applicants.

Hannah said: “Words fail me when I try to describe the emotions I felt watching the competition. Knowing how hard every single finalist worked to produce the solos they performed was very humbling, and even more so was being awarded the bronze medal.

Hannah Martin from Burgess Hill has won bronze in in The Margot Fonteyn International Ballet Competition SUS-210913-144029001

“I am filled with so much gratitude for the support I have been given on this journey, and would like to thank all the teachers and my family who have picked me up and pushed me forwards, not only in the successful moments but also in moments of difficulty and doubt. I could not have done this without you all, thank you from the bottom of my heart.

“In addition I would like to extend my gratitude to the Royal Academy of Dance for providing this incredible opportunity. I am so appreciative for Luke Rittner and his wonderful team of industry professionals, artists, and teachers who have made this event possible. I hope that the RAD will continually inspire dancers all around the world for many generations to come.

The young dancers were judged by Dame Darcey Bussell, president of the RAD; director of The Royal Ballet, Kevin O’Hare; CEO and artistic director of Scottish Ballet, Christopher Hampson; and Irek Mukhamedov, ballet master, Opera Paris Ballet.

They judged the dancers on a 19th or 20th century classical variation, a contemporary solo choreographed by them or for them (dancer’s own), a commissioned solo by choreographer Ashley Page and set class exercises.

The coveted Genée Gold Medal was awarded to New Zealand dancer Alice McArthur. In a touching coincidence, Alice’s success comes more than 30 years after her mother was awarded the silver medal in London.

Australian dancer Milei Lee won the silver medal and another bronze medal was presented to Australian dancer Amelia Soh.

Gerard Charles, artistic director of the RAD said: “I am so pleased that we were able to make the competition happen this year, after what has been an incredibly challenging time for dance students and teachers.

“It has been so inspiring to see these young dancers surmount unforeseeable challenges of separation, closed studios and lockdowns, just to take part in the competition, let alone take home a medal.

“This is a true testament to how deeply they value dance. I would like to extend my heartfelt congratulations not only to all the medallists, but also to everyone that took part, their teachers and families.”