Press release: Jessi Seymour wins the 2017 Sydney Eisteddfod Ballet Scholarship

2 August 2017

On Sunday 30th July, Jessi Seymour won the 2017 Sydney Eisteddfod Ballet Scholarship, which was held at the Sydney Opera House, Concert Hall. She was awarded a total of $18,000 allowing her the opportunity to engage in advanced pre-professional tuition.

Jessi first began her dance training in Sydney at 2 years of age.  Now at 16 years old, she trains full-time with Hilary Kaplan and Archibald McKenzie at Alegria Dance Studios.  Jessi has been offered a place at The Royal Ballet School in London and will begin her training in September.

Performing La Esmeralda's Variation from La Esmeralda, Act I and a contemporary solo entitled Dusk, choreographed by Shelley Moore, Jessi not only demonstrated a high level of technique but captured the attention of adjudicators Hao Bin and Prudence Caldwell, as well as David McAllister, artistic director of the Australian Ballet, who joined the judging panel for the Final.

Cameron Holmes was awarded the second scholarship worth $12,000.

Adjudicator Prudence Caldwell emphasised the important role events such as the Sydney Eisteddfod Ballet Scholarship play in establishing the careers of aspiring performers.

“Competitions like the Sydney Eisteddfod Ballet Scholarship hold so much prestige for young dancers and give aspiring dancers the stepping-stones to a very bright future. I was the outright winner of this same scholarship 15 years ago. It opened up so many doors that I never thought imaginable. I have had a very successful career all thanks to the Sydney Eisteddfod” said Caldwell.

Jessi expressed gratitude for being awarded the scholarship that will allow her to focus on both her training and pursue her love of ballet.

"While ballet is something I love performing, it's also something I can lose myself in. It's both for an audience and at the same time personal" said Jessi.

“La Esmeralda is an exciting variation to perform. There are lots of theatrics, a tambourine to really work with the music and dramatic sequences. The character of Esmeralda is nice too, a generous person with a good heart. I love everything about this piece” said Jessi.

The Sydney Eisteddfod Ballet Scholarship has been launching young dancers into leading ballet companies throughout the world for decades, The Australian Ballet’s Leanne Stojmenov and Adam Bull and The Royal Ballet’s Steven McRae and Alexander Campbell among them.

The events $36,000 total prize value would not have been possible without the generous support provided by sponsors The Guillermo Keys-Arenas Dance Trust and The Scott Family Bequest.

The other finalists that performed on the night were Janae Kerr, Isaac Shaw, Ashlee Crowe, Emma Dowling, Nichola Schapendonk and Tahlia Downey all who performed exceptionally well making the adjudication process incredibly difficult.  These eight finalists made it through the preliminary classes, heats, Quarter-Finals and Semi-finals, proving to be some of Australia's finest young dancers.

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* Sydney Eisteddfod is a not-for-profit organisation that runs one of the most successful competitive performing arts festivals of its type in the world. We have an average of 350 events yearly with competitors coming mostly from NSW/ACT but also from other states and New Zealand.