PoCo ballet dancer to compete at the Genee

International competition in Toronto includes Port Coquitlam dancer

A Port Coquitlam ballet dancer will be flying to Toronto next week for a prestigious international competition.

Kyra Soo, a student of the Goh Ballet Academy in Vancouver, automatically qualified as a semi-finalist in the Genée International Ballet Competition because of her high exam marks with the Royal Academy of Dance (RAD); the British-based organization hosts the Toronto contest Aug. 20 to 29.

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The 18-year-old, who graduated from Riverside secondary school in June, will be up against 61 teen ballet dancers from around the world — all working within the RAD syllabus — hoping to clinch the gold medal.

Other B.C. competitors include fellow Goh student Irene Ta; Emma Martino of the Dance Conservatory, Vancouver; and Sophie Higgins of the Dance Conservatory, West Vancouver. The latter was a finalist in the 2018 Genée contest in Hong Kong.

Soo said she’s nervous about the competition and dancing in front of the judging panel that includes Karen Kain, the artistic director of The National Ballet of Canada.

So far this year, Soo has fared well at events, winning a bronze medal at the international dance festival Tanzolymp in Berlin (classical dance solo/age 3 category female) as well as earning a special mention at the World Ballet Competition in Orlando, Fla. (professional category, ages 17-24).

For the Genée, Soo will perform a classical piece from La Bayadere (third shade variation) plus a short routine designed by her teacher.

And if she advances to the finals Aug. 29 at the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts, she will be required to learn a world-premiere dance from Italian-Canadian dancer and choreographer Gioconda Barbuto.

“It’ll be the first time I’ll be performing the variation,” she told The Tri-CIty News last week. “I’ve been taking private lessons every day this summer to get ready.”

Started in 1931, the Genée competition is named after RAD’s first president Dame Adeline Genée. It is the RAD’s signature event and has been presented outside of London, England, since 2002.

As for Soo’s future in ballet, she has another year in Goh’s full-day youth program before she begins auditioning for professional companies. Her aim is to dance in Europe. 

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