The Genée 2018: Gold Medallist Interview with Monet Hewitt and Joshua Green

After an intensive week of training and performances, the Genée International Ballet Competition 2018 concluded on 12 August 2018, crowning three male and female medallists. Ballet dancers Monet Hewitt and Joshua Green graciously took the time to share their experience of the Genée 2018 (and winning gold medals) with us below.

The female Royal Academy of Dance competition medallists include Monet Hewitt (gold medallist from New Zealand, trained by Joye Lowe), Caitlin Garlick (silver medallist trained by Karen Ireland) and Enoka Sato (bronze medallist trained by Annette Roselli). Male Genée 2018 medallists include Joshua Green (gold medallist from Australia, trained by Karen Ireland), Basil James (silver medallist trained by Anthony Dowson) and Jordan Yeuk Hay Chan (bronze medallist trained by Yui Man Cheung).

Genée 2018 medallists Jordan Yeuk Hay Chan - ballet competition
Jordan Yeuk Hay Chan, bronze medallist, Genée 2018. Photographer Keith Sin. Image courtesy of the Royal Academy of Dance.

The Genée 2018 Gold Medallist Interview

Up&AtEm Travel: First of all, congratulations for taking home gold medals at The Genée International Ballet Competition 2018 in Hong Kong – what an accomplishment! We recently spoke with 2013 Genée medallist, Isabelle Brouwers, who spoke about her experience in Glasgow, and we are excited to hear about this year’s ballet competition. 

What three words would you use to describe your experience at The Genée International Ballet Competition 2018?

Joshua Green: Friendly, inspirational, humbling.

Monet Hewitt: Surreal, exhilarating and mind-blowing!

 

U&T: Those are great first impressions for us as we imagine what the competition was like!  

Did anything surprise you at the competition – or was it much like how you imagined it to be?

JG: I knew that the Genée was known as the ‘friendly competition’, but I didn’t quite realize how friendly it was. The friendships that we formed were so much more than what I expected… You become best friends with these people over the week, and I genuinely hope that we stay in touch because those people are one of a kind.

The support was unreal as well. On the day of the Final, I was very stressed and I was super anxious, but the support I received from both Basil James, the silver medallist, and Jordan Chan, the bronze medallist, 100% changed my mind-set for the night. Personally, I think that the words of support I got from them were crucial to me being able to perform to the best of my ability and I cannot thank them enough for that.

MH: What surprised me was just how challenging the competition was. It was like no other competition I had ever been in before. The work was quite intense but, equally, the reward was beyond imagination!

Genée 2018 medallist Monet Hewitt - ballet competition
Monet Hewitt, gold medallist, Genée 2018. Photographer Keith Sin. Image courtesy of the Royal Academy of Dance.

U&T: I hadn’t heard that the Genée was known as the ‘friendly competition’, but it is great to hear that you formed such meaningful friendships during the intensive competition, Joshua. And Monet, we are glad that the rigorous competition was such a rewarding experience for you.

What were some of your favourite moments from the whole Genée experience? 

JG: Some of my favourite moments from Genée include being selected as a Finalist of course and winning the Choreographic Award because I did not expect it at all. Just being able to make friends and the time that we got to spend with each other was a massive highlight and I want to remember that forever. And, of course, that moment when Mr Rittner said that they had awarded a male gold medal, and my brain doing the math’s and realizing that I was the only boy left without a medal and coming to the realization that it had to be me!. I don’t think my heart has ever beat so fast.

But my absolute favourite memory that I hope to hold onto forever was that moment after the awards, when the curtain fell and having every single competitor come up to us and hug us. The support was unreal. I was a crying mess and having so many people supporting me was an amazing feeling. Seeing and feeling everyone be so happy for each other was an amazing moment to be a part of.

MH: Winning gold! I particularly loved the friendly and supportive atmosphere. I loved the commissioned piece – I felt almost as if it was choreographed for me! I also loved the coaching staff, I always had a smile on my face when I walked out of class.

Genée 2018 medallist Joshua Green - ballet competition
Joshua Green, gold medallist at Genée 2018. Photographer Keith Sin. Image courtesy of the Royal Academy of Dance.

U&T: Of course, winning the gold must have been one of the highlights! It’s really nice to hear that the other candidates were so supportive.

Were you able to interact with and learn from the other international dancers? 

JG: I think the things I learnt the most came from the other candidates. Of course, the coaching was so great and I learnt a lot from that in terms of ballet, but for life lessons I learnt the most from the candidates, particularly the other male finalists. Watching them dance, and the way they conducted themselves and their mind-set is something I’ll never forget and I’m so lucky to have spent those final two days with them because I learnt so much about myself as a dancer but as a person from them.

MH: Yes. We interacted daily and I found all the candidates were eager to help and share tips. It was wonderful to be with a group of people who were as passionate about dance as I am!

Genée 2018 medallists - ballet competition
Genée 2018 medallists. Photographer Keith Sin. Image courtesy of the Royal Academy of Dance.

U&T: This Royal Academy of Dance ballet competition seems like such an extraordinary experience since so much learning occurs throughout the process. 

Throughout the competition you saw many dancers from other nations performing at the Genée. Did it make you realise anything unique about how ballet is approached from your country?

JG: I think the only major difference I saw was that Australian dancers tend to dance big. We seem to use more of the space and travel more. It’s probably got something to do with the fact that we have so much space to dance in! But no, I didn’t see much difference in anything really. I think the Royal Academy of Dance training is so universal, so there wasn’t much difference between nations.

MH: No, I think dancers share a universal language – that is part of its appeal. No words are needed.

Genée 2018 gold medallists - ballet competition
Gold medallists Monet Hewitt & Joshua Green, Genée 2018. Photographer Keith Sin. Image courtesy of the Royal Academy of Dance.

U&T: Absolutely, Monique. Dance is very special as a form of non-verbal, visceral communication.

And Joshua, dancing big is a fantastic quality! As my previous dance professor used to say, it is much easier to learn control than to learn freedom.

Thank you both so much for your time. We wish you all the best, and we can’t wait to see what you get up to next!

What was the most insightful information that you learned from our interview with the Genée 2018 gold medallists? What else are you still curious about?

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Genée 2018 gold medallist - Monet Hewitt Genée 2018 gold medallist - Joshua Green

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