The Cecchetti Society Faculty, London together with the Cecchetti Competition Organisers are launching a new Dance Award in Malta. The organisers hope the award will soon become an established artistic event on the Maltese cultural calendar.

This year seven Cecchetti based dance schools will be entering candidates with a total of 18 dancers competing. Mr Dorian Mallia will be conducting the ballet class. Funded by The Cecchetti Society Trust, the award will be €1,100 for the winner and €400 for the runner-up. The prizes must be used for continued Cecchetti training either in Malta or abroad and by the 31st August 2019.

Open to male and female students between the age of 15 and 20 years, the award targets participants who are resident in Malta and/or Maltese nationals and hold their Intermediate Cecchetti Examination or above. The format is a ballet class made up of both free and set work, followed by a short classical solo of the contestants’ own choice.

The award team

The award is being inaugurated to honour Tanya Bayona in recognition of her work establishing and promoting the Cecchetti Method in Malta. Tanya Bayona is a fellow at the Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing, London and holder of the Enrico Cecchetti Diploma. In 1965, she introduced the Cecchetti Method in classical ballet in Malta and established her school. Her work was showcased in both local and international festivals and within theatre and television productions, landing her the Medal for Service to the Republic/Midalja Ghall-Qadi tar-Repubblika (MQR) for her life-long commitment to dance and ballet in Malta (2008), the Enrico Cecchetti Gold Medal awarded at the Royal Ballet School, London (2009), and Chevalier dans Les Palmes Academiques awarded by the Government of France.

Enrico Cecchetti, the author of the method, was an Italian ballet dancer and teacher noted for his part in training many distinguished artists. As a dancer, Cecchetti developed a brilliant technique and was noted for his pirouettes. Popular throughout Europe, he appeared with great success at La Scala in Milan and in London. Between 1890 and 1902 Cecchetti taught many dancers of the Imperial Russian Ballet and its associated school, including Olga Preobrajenska, Tamara Karsavina, and Vaslav Nijinsky. From 1910 to 1918 Cecchetti was the official instructor of Serge Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes but left in 1913 to tour with his world-famous private pupil, Anna Pavlova. In 1918 he and his wife, the dancer Giuseppina de Maria, opened a school in London. From 1925 he directed the ballet school at La Scala; he continued to teach until the day before he died.

The purpose of the award is to encourage talented students to further their studies in this method at a higher vocational level. The adjudicator is Anita Young, former soloist with the Royal Ballet and guest teacher for schools and companies in the UK, Malta, Germany, USA, South Africa, Italy and Canada.

The first edition of The Tanya Bayona Award will take place on Sunday 7th October at The Dance Workshop, 1 St Lawrence Street, Pieta’.