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The competition started in 1931, when the Adeline Genée Gold Medal was awarded to Felicity Garratt, and became known as ‘the Genée’.


Other medals were later added: the silver (1934), bronze (1956), and gold and silver for male dancers (1938). The competition 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 competition has now been hosted around the world.

The competition was renamed in May 2019 in honour of our longest-serving president, Margot Fonteyn DBE, a week after she would have turned 100. Margot Fonteyn is regarded as the greatest ballet dancer of her generation and was instrumental in shaping the RAD’s international expansion.


The RAD will continue to honour its first president with the Adeline Genée gold medal for the best dancer.

The RAD acknowledges with gratitude the support of the Dame Margot Fonteyn Scholarship Fund, the only charity bearing her name, which will provide significant additional support to the competition to mark the name change. The Fund also continues its ongoing support of candidates at the competition, pledging an increased number of bursaries per annum for the next five years, and continuing to present the audience choice award in Dame Margot’s name.

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Past medallists

Past medalists have gone on to work for some of the best ballet companies around the world, including: 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, and The Hong Kong Ballet.

For many, their careers have been long and varied as directors, artistic directors, ballet masters, teachers, administrators, dance critics, choreographers, TV producers and directors.

Held exclusively in London until 2001, the 'Genée' (now The Margot Fonteyn International Ballet Competition) is staged around the world thanks to the efforts of our members.

See all medallists.

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Céline Gittens
Gold medal and Audience Choice Award 2005

I had been doing my RAD exams since the age of 5 and being in the building, with dancers from all around the world was very exciting.

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Lachlan Monaghan
Bronze medal 2010

The Fonteyn is the most amazing experience. To compete in such a healthy environment is key in growing up and learning.

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Mlindi Kulashe
Bronze medal 2011

This is a chance for you to showcase your talent and what you are good at. It's important to show your personality, on top of your execution.

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Amber Mitchell-Knight
Audience Choice Award 2021

I feel honoured to be a part of the legacy of The Fonteyn. I feel inspired and accomplished. This experience is a stepping stone in my career.

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