19 October 2019 04:33

Karen Kain will be awarded the Queen Elizabeth II Coronation Award by the RAD at this year’s 2019 Genée International Ballet Competition. She is the first Canadian to receive the award.

The RAD have announced that Karen Kain will be awarded the Queen Elizabeth II Coronation Award.

The ‘QEII’ award is presented to people who have made a significant contribution to the ballet and dance industry. Kain is the Artistic Director of the National Ballet of Canada and is being recognised for her 50-year-long work with the company, as well as her contribution to the world of ballet as a renowned dancer and one of the most distinguished leaders in dance today.

There are several firsts with Kain winning the QEII award. Chiefly, Kain is the first Canadian to be given this prize, while this is also the first time the award will be bestowed outside of the UK; Kain will be honoured on her home stage and home country, as the Genée International Ballet Competition returns to Canada for the first time in over a decade, from August 20 – 29.

“I am greatly honoured to receive the Queen Elizabeth II Coronation Award and humbled to join the list of accomplished past recipients who have made great contributions to the art form of ballet. Thank you to the Royal Academy of Dance for this recognition,” says Kain.

The Genée will be back in Toronto for the first time since 2008 – and the competition will be doubly important to Kain as she will also sit on the judging panel for the Genée Final. She will be joined by Dame Monica Mason, former Director of The Royal Ballet, Mikko Nissinen, Artistic Director of Boston Ballet and Magdalena Popa, Principal Artistic Coach of The National Ballet of Canada (Semi-Finals only).

“I look forward to welcoming the competitors of the 2019 Genée International Ballet Competition to the home stage of The National Ballet of Canada at the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts in Toronto,” says Kain. “It will be a pleasure to be an adjudicator at this prestigious event and witness the many fine young dancers from across the world.”

RAD has a long-standing association with Canada, and first established an office there in 1956. Today there are more than 1,000 members and over 15,000 candidates taking exams each year in Canada. Canadian candidates have previously enjoyed great success in the competition, with dancers from this region taking home one gold, three silver and two bronze medals between them.

The last time the Genée was held in Toronto, Canadian dancers were well represented with Nicole Ciapponi (Joffrey Ballet) being awarded a silver medal and Alexandra Bertram, taking home a bronze medal.

Gerard Charles, Artistic Director of the RAD, states that “the Genée is more than just a competitive platform; it is a chance for young dancers to receive new ideas, participate in the creation of a new work and to share a unique experience with their peers and new friends.”

“I am thrilled that we will also have the opportunity to celebrate one of Canada’s most inspirational figures in dance in the host city of Toronto, and would like to extend my congratulations to Karen Kain on receiving this esteemed award, on behalf of the Royal Academy of Dance.”

The award was instituted in 1953 by Dame Adeline Genée to mark the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II and her majesty’s appointment as Royal Patron of the Academy. Past winners include Rudolf Nureyev (1983), Glen Tetley (1980), Dame Monica Mason (2011), and Sir Matthew Bourne OBE (2016). It was most recently awarded to Carlos Acosta CBE in 2018.

Photo: Karolina Kuras