The competition is open to dancers who are current members of the Royal Academy of Dance. Candidates must:
have successfully passed their RAD Advanced 2 with Distinction (or anticipate that they will by the closing date),
be aged 15-20 years by 1 September 2023,
be of pre-professional status, and
not have been employed on a professional contract prior to entry to the competition. However, students who have been offered a professional engagement that starts after the competition will still be eligible to enter.
The Margot Fonteyn International Ballet Competition is dedicated to promoting and rewarding standards of excellence in young ballet dancers internationally. This is achieved by offering aspiring dancers the unique opportunity to work with world-renowned choreographers and professionals, as well as the chance to perform on an international stage.
The Margot Fonteyn International Ballet Competition represents the pinnacle of achievement for young people trained in the Royal Academy of Dance syllabus. The competition identifies talented young dancers and often launches them into a professional career.
The competition originated quite humbly in 1931 as the ‘Adeline Genée Gold Medal’ and was introduced as an additional incentive for candidates who had passed the Solo Seal examination. Felicity Garratt was the first recipient of this award; other medals were later added: the silver (1934), bronze (1956), and gold and silver for male dancers (1938).
The award continued to progress and develop into a competition format and remarkably it has taken place almost every year since 1931, even during the Second World War. In 2002, the RAD took the landmark decision to hold the competition outside London in order to embrace its international spirit, taking it to Australia where Sydney Opera House played host to a record number of candidates.
Since 2002, the competition has been held in cities across the world including Singapore, Cape Town, London, Sydney, Lisbon and Hong Kong. In 2023, we are delighted that the Fonteyn will be returning to London.
Venues and schedule
The Fonteyn classes and coaching sessions will take place from Sunday 22 October to Sunday 29 October and will be held at RAD headquarters, 188 York Road, London, SW11 3JZ. Times of classes and coaching sessions will vary each day and candidates will be provided with a timetable at the Welcome Reception on Saturday 21 October.
The semi-finals will be held at the Aud Jebsen Studio Theatre, at RAD headquarters on Wednesday 25, Thursday 26 October and Friday 27 October starting at 10.30am.
The final will be held at His Majesty's Theatre in London on Sunday 29 October at 7pm.
Judges and Faculty
The panel of judges include: Dame Darcey Bussell, Aaron Watkin and Amanda Britton. The Guest Choreographer is Valentino Zucchetti.
The competition is open to dancers who are current members of the Royal Academy of Dance and have achieved Advanced 2 (with Distinction). Evidence is required. If you have not yet taken your Advanced 2 examination please still complete the application form and specify the date and information for your Advanced 2 examination.
Candidates must be aged 15 – 20 years by Friday 1 September 2023 and be of non-professional status. They must not have been employed on a professional contract prior to participation in the competition, however, students who have been offered a professional engagement that commences after the competition will still be eligible to enter.
Should applications exceed capacity the Producer will undertake a process of selection based on video submissions of a classical variation. If this is required, you will receive a request from us.
Candidates will be notified on Friday 7 July at 18.00 (UK time) whether or not they have secured a place at the Margot Fonteyn International Ballet Competition 2023.
It is only on receipt of this confirmation that you will know whether or not you will be competing at the Margot Fonteyn International Ballet Competition 2023.
The closing date for applications is Friday 30 June 2023 at 18:00 (UK time).
Applications should be completed via the online application form.
At the point of application, we will request the following:
Evidence of qualifications
Short biography (of no more than 60 words)
Headshot – supplied as a JPG only
Music for Dancer’s Own variation – supplied as .WAV file
Completed press and publicity permission form
Please note: the headshot provided will be included in the official Fonteyn souvenir programme. If you are unsure of what to provide, please send us any digital portrait of yourself in a large file size – we will crop and resize the jpg as needed.
431 pixels wide x 531 pixels high minimum
(or 35mm wide x 45mm high, 300dpi minimum)
Candidates who are waiting for their Advanced 2 examination result must still complete an application form to be submitted by the closing date.
Applicants are advised to take out insurance, if available, to guard against withdrawal due to injury or sickness and for the cost of medical treatment throughout the duration of the competition. It is your responsibility to act on our advice. We do not endorse any providers, but we are aware of one provider and there may be others which we encourage you to research: https://www.dancesurance.com/
Visa to travel
You may require a visa to travel to the United Kingdom. To check whether you require a visa to visit: How to apply for a visa to come to the UK: Choose a visa - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
Content of the competition
There are three major sections of the competition:
Coaching: Classes and coaching sessions will take place from Sunday 22 October to Saturday 28 October and will be held at RAD Headquarters, 188 York Road, London, SW11 3JZ. These sessions are compulsory for all candidates.
All candidates must take part in their allocated coaching classes to be considered eligible to take part in the competition’s semi-finals.
Semi-finals: The semi-finals will consist of the performance of class work, Dancer’s Own solo and Classical Repertoire variation for all candidates on Wednesday 25, Thursday 26 and Friday 27 October.
Candidates must complete all sections of the semi-finals in order to remain eligible for the Finals.
Final: All candidates will appear on stage in a newly choreographed piece created during the competition by our guest choreographer. The final will be held at His Majesty's theatre in London on the evening of Sunday 29 October.
All finalists will be assessed on their the Candidate’s own Dancer’s Own variation and their chosen Classical Repertoire variation.
Content and format
Classical Repertoire variation: performed at the semi-finals and final.
Candidates will select one variation from the Classical Repertoire Variations list (see below).
Dancer’s Own: performed at the semi-finals and final
Candidates will perform a newly choreographed solo no shorter than 1 minute in length and no longer than 1 minute 30 seconds created by themselves, their teacher or a peer to a piece of music of their choice. For those dancers who are required to perform their classical repertoire variation en pointe their Dancer’s Own solo must also be performed en pointe.
Only those Dancer’s Own solos choreographed by a candidate will be eligible for the choreographic prize. Please see below for more information.
Classical Repertoire Variations
Candidates should select and rehearse ONE variation provided from the list of approved 19th century and 20th century Classical Repertoire variations shown below.
Please note that if you entered for the competition in 2021, you must choose a different classical repertoire variation for 2023.
As there are sometimes differences in the way that 19th century variations are titled in different productions. YouTube links to help you identify the music for each variation are provided for your information only and are not recommended sources or tempi or choreography for the variations.
19th century variations must be taken from a traditional classical 19th century production, and must be rooted in classical vocabulary - contemporary interpretations using 20th or 21st century vocabulary will not be accepted. Candidates must identify which company and production their chosen 19th century variation is from. This will need to be stated on the application form.
The Faculty reserve the right to alter the 19th century Classical Repertoire vvariation if necessary.
A vimeo link will be sent to those candidates who choose a 20th century variation. Candidates should learn the choreography from these videos.
Traditionally female variations (to be performed en pointe)
19th Century Variations
1. Sleeping Beauty - Fairy 3 (Woodland Glade) - video min 2:02
2. Bayadere Shade 1 Variation - video
3. Bayadere Shade 2 Variation - video min 1:46:32
4. Swan Lake pas de trois 1st Variation - video
5. La Ventana Female Variation - video
6. Paquita Variation 1 - video
7. Paquita Variation 2 - video
8. Raymonda Pizzicato - video min 0:25
9. Corsaire - 2nd Odalisque - video
10. Corsaire Medora Act 2 - video
11. Giselle Act 1 - video
20th Century Variations
12. Danses Concertantes (MacMillan, 1955), Principal Variation, 4/4 Risoluto
13. Cinderella (Ashton, 1948), Summer Variation, 12/8 Andantino Sognando
Traditionally Male Variations (to be performed off pointe)
19th Century Variations
14. Swan Lake pas de trois - video
15. Coppelia - Act III Franz 0 - video min 1:27:58
16. Raymonda Act III Jean de Brienne - video
17. Satenella - video
18. Napoli Pas de Six 1st Variation - video
19. Talisman - video
20. Colas' Variation from "La Fille mal gardée" by A. Gorsky - video
21. Giselle Peasant pas de deux 2nd variation - video
20th Century Variations
22. Manon ((MacMillan, 1974), Des Grieux Act I - video*
23. Les Patineurs (Ashton, 1937), Blue Boy’s Variation
*This link is only as a guide to the solo and the relevant section ends at 1:35. Those candidates who choose this variation will be sent a more detailed link of the choreography.
Dancer’s Own Variation – Candidate’s own choreography:
Candidates must prepare a newly choreographed solo no shorter than 1 minute in length and no longer than 1 minute 30 seconds created by themselves, their teacher or a peer to a piece of music of their choice.
The Choreographic Award (introduced in 2013), will again be awarded in 2023 but only choreography that has been created by the candidate themselves will be eligible to win the Choreographic Award. The judges will adjudicate this award at the semi-finals and the winning choreography will be announced alongside the announcement of the Finalists, and will be performed at the final on Sunday 29 October (whether or not the winning candidate is a Fonteyn finalist).
Guidelines for choreographers
Candidates should present a solo no shorter than 1 minute in length and no longer than 1 minute 30 seconds choreographed by themselves, their teacher or a peer to a piece of music of their choice.
For those dancers who are required to perform their classical repertoire variation en pointe their Dancer’s Own solo must also be performed en pointe
The Faculty reserve the right to alter the Dancer’s Own variation if necessary.
We have teamed together with Rambert School to make a short video that will hopefully help inspire you to develop all your great ideas.
Music Guidelines for candidate choreography
Should be no shorter than 1 minute in length and no longer than 1 minute 30 seconds in duration.
Be taken from a recording which has been purchased legitimately or recorded for, and licensed to, the candidate.
If desired, be an original composition by the student or the result of a collaboration.
Should contain no internal cuts to the music.
You must upload a copy of your music in .WAV format at the time of application. If you do not have the file at the time of application you will be able to log in to an online portal and upload the track at a later date. This must be the final version that you wish to dance to with and any fades or cuts at the end of the music already made. Such adjustments cannot be made at the competition.
The quality of the track you provide must be of professional standard as it will be played for the performance to the live audience.
Things to think about:
How does your music end? Remember it is easy to fade out music, but you cannot fade yourself out from the stage so easily!
You may choose any kind of music, however, if your music contains lyrics, these must not include any offensive material (i.e. sexist, racist or in other ways defamatory).
What to wear
General Class, Coaching Sessions, and Semi-finals class
Practice ballet attire should be worn and the leotard may be of any colour. Tights should be regulation exam colour. For class, candidates should wear soft pointe shoes or flat ballet shoes and for the pointe work section, pointe shoes with ribbons.
Classical Repertoire variation:
For Pointe variations pointe shoes with ribbons are required.
For 19th century variations the costume should be appropriate to the variation, and a head-dress may be worn; a leotard with tutu of any matching colour may be worn in place of a complete costume
Specifics for 20th century variation
Summer Variation: costume should be a plain coloured leotard and matching mid-calf length chiffon skirt. Tights should be a regulation exam colour.
Danse Concertantes: a plain coloured leotard. Tights should be regulation exam colour.
Manon: candidates must wear a loose shirt that can be tucked into tights or has an elasticated waist.
Les Patineurs: leotard and tights or unitard
Dancer’s Own: candidates may wear a simple costume and use hand-held props if appropriate; however, no scenery or masks may be used. The candidate’s costume must not make any reference to characters from films or musicals that are still in copyright. For those dancers who are required to perform their classical repertoire variation en pointe their Dancer’s Own solo must also be performed en pointe
Commissioned Ensemble for all Fonteyn Candidates
Candidates should wear the same practice attire as worn for the semi-finals class. There will be some flexibility to modify the practice attire – further guidance will be provided prior to the competition.
Criteria for Assessment
Candidates are assessed on the work they show and not on any prediction of future promise. The following criteria are followed across both the class work and variations:
Secure posture and weight placement, use of turnout, articulated, clearly defined footwork
Co-ordinated and sensitive use of the arms and hands in balanced harmony with the whole body showing breadth of movement, use of épaulement, alignment, head and eye line
Rhythmical and controlled pirouettes
Controlled, sustained and co-ordinated adagio movements creating harmonious lines through the whole body
Effective use of elevation, accurate batterie, and the ability to reflect the dynamics and artistic qualities of the allegro steps
Use of space
Rhythmical accuracy and timing
Inspired and considerate response to musical atmosphere, dynamics and phrasing
Confident movements performed with ease and control
An ability to interpret and express the varying artistic qualities and appropriate styles
Criteria for the Choreographic Award
The recipient of this award is the dancer choreographer who in the judges’ opinion demonstrates the highest standard of choreography within the variation based on the following assessments:
Dynamics of movement
Use of space
Depiction of theme or story
Use of music/sound.
Awarding of Medals
Up to three categories of medal may be awarded – gold, silver and bronze.
Medals are awarded to candidates showing the highest levels of competency in the stated criteria. The judges’ decision is final.
The Genée gold medal is only awarded when a candidate, in the judges’ opinion, demonstrates exceptional technical skills, an innate response to music, outstanding performance qualities and charisma.
The prize money will be awarded to medallists as follows:
The judges may decide to award more than one medal in any category. In this event, the prize money for that medal and the next category down will be pooled and distributed amongst the selected candidates at the discretion of the Judges and Fonteyn Artistic Team.
In addition to the above medals, a Choreographic Award will be awarded to recognise the best of the Dancer’s Own choreography that has been choreographed by the candidate themselves. This award has a monetary prize of £250 generously supported by the Lynn Wallis OBE Bursary.
The Dame Margot Fonteyn Audience Choice Award will also be awarded on the night of the final following a public vote. This award has a monetary prize of £250 generously supported by the Dame Margot Fonteyn Scholarship Fund
Candidate fees, accommodation and travel
The fees for 2023 are:
£50.00 (non refundable) registration fee, plus £450.00 entry fee
Please make payment by the following links:
Candidate Registration fee - £50.00 (non-refundable) – due at the point of application: https://cvent.me/oxq9Ny
Candidate Entry fee - £450.00 - due by the closing date:https://cvent.me/KX0vPW
Failure to make payment will result in your application being deemed incomplete.
In the event that your application is unsuccessful, your payment will be refunded to you within 28 days after the application closing date, however, please note that your registration fee will not be refunded.
Candidates in receipt of a bursary will be given a code which will reduce the entry fee to £0.
The fee includes:
Four days of world-class tuition delivered by a Faculty, led by Gerard Charles, Artistic Director of the Royal Academy of Dance.
A semi-final performance opportunities at the Royal Academy of Dance global headquarters before a live audience and distinguished judging panel.
The opportunity to perform before a live audience and distinguished judging panel at His Majesty's Theatre.
For non-finalists: a ticket to watch the final.
Access for all candidates to a welcome reception on 21 October 2023.
Lunch provided between 22-29 October 2023.
Administrative costs ( for example required permissions for use of Dancer’s Own music related to live performances).
Pastoral care throughout the competition (provided by RAD on-site chaperones)
Accommodation for Candidates
Candidates are required to organise their own accommodation for the duration of the competition. We recommend that you ensure you have accommodation from 21-29 October 2023 inclusive.
You are advised not to book travel unless you have received written confirmation of a place which will be sent out to you after the final closing date.
We advise that you do not make inflexible travel arrangements until you have received confirmation that your entry for The Fonteyn has been accepted.
Please check your Visa entry requirements for the UK.
The currency is Pound Sterling (GBP). Candidates should have enough funds to cover their expenses whilst in the UK.
Welfare and wellbeing of Candidates
The Royal Academy of Dance (RAD) has a ‘duty of care’ to provide a safe environment for and to promote the health and well-being of children, young people and adults at risk. The RAD takes all reasonable steps to ensure that safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children and adults at risk is embedded in our contact with them. The RAD ensures that children and adults at risk are well protected and that there is a system in place to safeguard their welfare. The RAD believes that the welfare of the children and adults is paramount, regardless of age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex or sexual orientation have the right to equal protection from all types of harm or abuse as defined in the Equality Act 2010.
Physical contact may be necessary by members of the teaching faculty. If you would like to discuss this matter please contact firstname.lastname@example.org in the first instance.
In the event of an injury or medical emergency during the competition, a qualified First Aider will provide necessary treatment and assistance. If the candidate is under 18 years old, a parent/guardian will be notified of the incident. An accident report form will be completed.
The RAD provides chaperones who will be responsible for candidates under the age of 18 years during the welcome reception, coaching, semi finals and Final. All chaperones have current criminal records checks (DBS or equivalent) in place and are briefed on the RAD’s Safeguarding policy and procedures. . Candidates under the age of 18 will not be permitted to leave the coaching/competition venue during the coaching day, unless accompanied by a parent/guardian or teacher. The Royal Academy of Dance also encourages those candidates over the age of 18 to abide by this regulation.
If something or someone is worrying you at any time, candidates can speak to a chaperone or member of staff. If you prefer, email email@example.com and we’ll be there to help.
If you have a safeguarding concern, whether it relates to yourself or another candidate please speak to the Lead Chaperone immediately.
The RAD has a designated Safeguarding Manager and low-level concerns can also be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org at any time.
The RAD’s Safeguarding Policy & Procedures are available online and updated annually.
Registration and Welcome reception
All candidates should make their own way to the Royal Academy of Dance Headquarters and candidates may arrive between 14:00 – 16:30 for registration.
The Welcome Reception will commence at 17.00 and candidates may bring one guest (parent/teacher) to this event. At the welcome reception you will be introduced to your coaches for the week, the RAD Fonteyn staff and other people who will be assisting with the organisation of the competition. Dress code is smart casual. This will be followed by a tour of the building for all candidates.
Images and Social Media
All variations are covered by copyright law and therefore any type of recording (images, photographs, audio/video, etc.) taken by any type of device, in the studio is strictly prohibited throughout the competition.
The Royal Academy of Dance has a lively and engaged worldwide community of almost 500,000 followers and fans on our social media channels: Facebook, Instagram, Tik Tok, Twitter, LinkedIn and also You Tube. . During the competition, the communications team will be taking appropriate images and videos, using a selection to publish regularly on RAD’s social media channels, or to share with our sponsors and partners to post on theirs. We use our social networks in order to promote the competition, raising its profile worldwide, providing you with a platform to be seen by the dance industry and ensuring we attract an appreciative audience for the semi-finals and the final.
Candidates are encouraged to post their own tagged images and videos, using the official event hashtag #Fonteyn2023 throughout the competition to share their experiences. Please only post and tag images/videos of other candidates with their knowledge and consent. Do not post anything inappropriate or offensive and please note that you cannot film any of the classical variations, commissioned variations or other candidates’ Dancers’ Own solos, due to intellectual copyright and music copyright. The communications team monitors this throughout the competition and will ask you to delete anything that is deemed inappropriate or in breach of copyright.
Our social media pages are listed below. Keep a lookout for the official event hashtag #Fonteyn2023 and please also feel free to retweet, repost and share anything that we post on our official channels throughout the competition.
6.3 The RAD will also commission an official Fonteyn photographer to capture images of the competition from start to finish. Advance warning will be given before they go in to studios and will be briefed to be as unobtrusive as possible and they will be accompanied by an RAD member of staff at all times.
Similarly, we may invite news photographers and broadcast crews to report on the competition, they will be accompanied by RAD staff and no candidate will be asked to do or say anything that they are not comfortable with.
If you have any concerns about press, photography or filming please raise it with Press & Communications Manager, Katie Hagan.
Terms and Conditions
Acknowledgement of your application is not confirmation of a place at The Fonteyn International Ballet Competition 2023; this will be confirmed on 7 July.
You are advised not to book travel unless you have received written confirmation of a place which will be sent out to you after the final closing date.
Applications will be considered invalid if candidates do not send all the requested information and full payment by the closing date.
Cancellation of The Fonteyn International Ballet Competition
If The Fonteyn has to be cancelled due to a circumstance beyond the reasonable control of the RAD including but not limited to acts of God, compliance with any law or governmental order rule regulation or direction, war, riot, strike, terrorist acts or the threat of terrorist acts, civil commotion or insurrection, royal demise, malicious damage, fire, flood, accident, storm, breakdown earthquake, subsidence or failure of the plant, machinery and associated property of th`e RAD or any public utility, health epidemic, pandemic, infectious disease or any other unforeseen event, the RAD will endeavour to reschedule the activity where possible, but this cannot be guaranteed.
The RAD will offer candidates the opportunity to transfer their booking to the next event or offer a full refund of fees.
Withdrawals and refunds
Candidates who withdraw will be subject to the clauses below:
Candidates who withdraw from The Fonteyn International Ballet Competition after submitting an application will not have the registration fee of £50 refunded.
Candidates who withdraw from The Fonteyn International Ballet Competition after the closing date, but prior to Friday September 1, 2023, who have paid the entry fee and registration fee (£500 total), and have been accepted into the competition will not receive a refund unless a medical certificate is provided. In such cases, the registration fee of £50 will be retained by RAD and the remaining balance of £450 will be refunded.
There will be no refund under any circumstances for withdrawals received on or after Friday 1 September 2023. It is for this reason that we strongly advise you to obtain your own insurance.
Candidates are advised to consider taking out insurance against withdrawal due to medical reasons, or due to personal reasons which might prevent them completing the competition. Candidates with an existing injury attend The Fonteyn International Ballet Competition at their own risk.
Physical contact may be necessary by members of the teaching faculty. If you would like to discuss this matter, contact Maria O’Connor, Royal Academy of Dance, 188 York Road, London, SW11 3JZ, by e-mail: email@example.com, or tel: + 44 (0)20 7326 8024.
The RAD reserves the right to alter the advertised programme, judging panel and Faculty without prior notice. The information in this and other printed or electronic brochures/notices was correct at the time of publication.
Data Protection Statement
The RAD holds information and contact details requested at the time of your booking that enable them to provide you with information relating to a candidate registration for the competition. We will not disclose your information to a third party except where legally required to do so.
The Learning and Participation Privacy Statement is available to view online here.
The full RAD Privacy statement is available to view online here.