In the absence of our Chairman, Joint Deputy-Chairman Ann Dawson attended the final Assembly at the Royal Ballet Upper School to present the 2019 Ballet Association Awards to 1st Year Alix Van Tiggelen and 2nd Years Hanna Park and Denilson Almeida Afonso. We look forward to hearing from that at a meeting early in the New Year. We are very grateful to the School for providing short biographies of the Award winners, which are at the end of this newsletter.
Alix Van Tiggelen – 1st year, Upper School
Alix is Belgian and has an elder sister and younger brother. She started professional training at the Royal Ballet School of Antwerp (KBA) at the age of 10, for four years, under the artistic direction of Michael Shannon, then Nadia De Ferme. In September 2016, she continued her training at the École du ballet de Paris under the scholarship of the "Institut International Janine Stanlowa". She was taught by teachers from the Opéra National de Paris, such Mr Attilio Labbis and Mrs Francoise Legree. In 2017, Alix was offered a place at White Lodge
She has participated in the following competitions: Chausson d'Or in Paris in March 2017 ( Grand Prix du Chausson d'Or), TanzOlymp in Berlin in February 2017 ( Bronz medal, Private Schools ), Nijinski Prize in Deauville in November 2016 (1st Prize and Artistic Prize) ,Chausson d'Or in Paris, March 2016 (Silver Medal and Janine Stanlowa Prize ), International Terpsichore Competition in Belgium in May 2013 (1st Prize and Artistic Prize).
Hanna Park – 2nd year, Upper School
Hanna was born in Seoul and now lives in Bundang, Korea. She started ballet when she was 6 years old. While she studied at Sunhwa Arts School for four years, she was selected to study Ballet at the Gifted Education Center of Korea National University of Arts and she was educated with full scholarships. She has been trained by Professor Sunhee Kim and Professor Joohyun Cho.
Hanna has dreamed of attending Royal Ballet School from a young age and for this reason she was very happy when she received the scholarship from the Prix de Lausanne. Hanna was proud to be awarded the Gold Medal in the youth’s division of the 2015 Valentina Kozlova International Ballet Competition in New York. She received the Silver Medal at the Tanzolymp (Berlin), She received the Gold Medal in the junior women’s division of the 2017 Youth American Grand Prix (YAGP). In January 2018, Hanna competed in the prestigious Prix de Lasanne in Switzerland and received 2nd place overall and also the “Bourse Jeune Espoir” award. This is where she was first seen by Royal Ballet School Artistic Director, Christopher Powney, who offered her a place at the school.
Denilson Almeida Afonso – 2nd year, Upper School
Denilson Almeida is from Uberlandia, Minas Gerais in Brazil and has lived in Rio de Janeiro since 2006. He has two brothers.
Denilson started dancing in his local church when he was three years old accompanied by his mother, as part of the church dance ministry in Minas Gerais. When he arrived in Rio de Janeiro, he joined another church dance ministry where at the age of eight he was spotted and invited to audition for the Petite Danse School. In 2010 he joined the Petite Danse School supported by their social project Dançar a Vida, and took classes with former Stuttgart Ballet soloist, Patricia Salgado.
Denilson had always admired The Royal Ballet and The Royal Ballet School and particularly knowing that two dancers from the Petite Danse School, Mayara Magri and Leticia Dias, had won scholarships to the School and are now dancing with The Royal Ballet. His favourite Royal Ballet Dancers are Darcey Bussell and Steven McRae.
In 2015, Denilson attended the Joinville Dance Festival and won second place with his classical variation from Paquita. In 2016, he was sponsored to attend the finals of the Youth American Grand Prix in New York and was a finalist earning him the offer of six scholarships from The Harid Conservatory, Houston Ballet Academy, Ballettschule München, New Zealand School of Dance, The American Ballet Theatre Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School and the National Ballet School of Canada. The following year he attended the Prix de Lausanne where he was a finalist and won the Rudolf Nureyev Foundation Artistic Award. Most importantly, however, he was spotted by Christopher Powney and awarded a full scholarship to join The Royal Ballet School the following September, his ultimate dream.