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Meet the people behind The Fonteyn 2023

A panel of expert and independent judges

Each year we recruit a panel of judges from across the industry, each chosen for their expertise and insight to select the deserving winners of each category. Here's this year's panel! Read more about their amazing careers. 

Guest Choreographer: Valentino Zucchetti

Candidates worked with Valentino Zucchetti, First Soloist and Choreographer for The Royal Ballet, to create a new piece to be performed by all competitors at the final. 

Valentino was born in Italy and began training locally at the age of four. He moved subsequently to La Scala Ballet School. At 16 he was offered a scholarship to The Royal Ballet School. He won the 2006 Genée International Ballet Competition and was awarded RAD Solo Seal in 2007. He also created a role in Christopher Hampson’s Three Dialogues for the school’s annual matinee. 


On graduation, Valentino joined Zürich Ballet, moving to Norwegian National Ballet in 2009 and The Royal Ballet in 2010. He was promoted to First Artist in 2011, Soloist in 2012 and First Soloist in 2014. His repertory with The Royal Ballet includes Principal roles in the classics and works by Acosta, Ashton, Balanchine, Branstrup, Cranko, Dawson, Forsythe, MacMillan, Marriott, Scarlett and Wheeldon.

 

Valentino won the Ursula Moreton Choreographic Award in 2005. He choreographed Sonata for Six for The Royal Ballet School’s 2013 matinee, and regularly creates pieces for The Royal Ballet’s Draft Works. In 2013 he choreographed Orbital Motion for New English Ballet Theatre and in 2021 created Anemoi for The Royal Ballet which was performed on the main stage of the Royal Opera House.

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Photo: Andrej Uspenski

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Photo: Martin Bell

The Finalists

At the end of day 3 of the semi-finals held at the Royal Academy of Dance headquarters, the finalists were announced. Click here to learn about the talented dancers selected to compete in the final at His Majesty's Theatre on Sunday 29 October. 

A world class faculty to coach our candidates

Meet our producer and the coaches that worked with all candidates during The Fonteyn week. Classes and coaching sessions are compulsory and took place from Sunday 22 October to Tuesday 24 October at RAD Headquarters in London.

Guest Performance at the final:
Caspar Lench

Born in Bristol, Caspar began ballet lessons at age four at the Bristol School of Dancing. He became a Junior Associate of The Royal Ballet School and in 2015, joined the School’s full-time training at White Lodge, progressing to the Upper School in 2020. He graduated in 2023, and joined The Royal Ballet as an Aud Jebsen Young Dancer at the start of the 2023/24 Season. During his time at the School, he was awarded the April Olrich Award for Dynamic Performance, the Gailene Stock Award for Exceptional Progress and the London Ballet Circle Dame Ninette Award for Most Outstanding Male Graduate. In his graduating performances, he danced featured roles in Christopher Wheeldon’s Within the Golden Hour, Jiří Kylián’s Sechs Tänze, and the solo Takademe by Robert Battle.  

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Photo: Amber Hunt

Corporate Partners

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Supporters

The Dame
Margot Fonteyn Scholarship Fund

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Live Stream Partner

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If you are interested in sponsoring The Fonteyn, please be in touch with us via email.
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