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Jewels for Ballet Royalty

PRESS RELEASE: December 7th 2012.


TORY & KO. Jewellers are proud to announce their involvement in the 2012 Genée International Ballet Competition.

In December 2012, for the first time ever, the Royal Academy of Dance will stage its flagship event, the Genée International Ballet Competition in New Zealand in association with the Royal New Zealand Ballet and the New Zealand School of Dance. The competition will attract talented young dancers from all over the world to Wellington to compete for the coveted gold, silver and bronze medals in what is acknowledged as one of the most exciting of all the international ballet competitions.

After five days of intensive coaching with internationally renowned teachers and choreographers and following two days of gruelling semi-finals, the young competitors perform in the competition final in front of a distinguished panel of international judges:

- David McAllister - (Chair of the Panel), Artistic Director of the Australian Ballet and Vice-President of the RAD
- Li Cunxin - internationally acclaimed dancer, author of his best-selling autobiography “Mao’s Last Dancer” and Artistic Director of the Queensland Ballet;
- Christopher Hampson - internationally renowned choreographer, ex-soloist of the English National Ballet and Artistic Director of the Scottish Ballet
- Adrian Burnett - New Zealand born internationally renowned choreographer and teacher.
This year, as in previous Genée International Ballet Competitions, the popular ‘Audience Award’ will be a feature of the final night of the competition (December 15th). For the first time this year the dancer who gains the most audience votes will receive a prize.

TORY & KO. Jewellers, co-founded by Victoria Taylor, jeweller, designer and gemologist, and Kirstin O’Brien, from a family of jewellers, have been given the privilege of designing and creating a jewelled tiara and a special pair of cufflinks for the winning dancer of the Genée International Ballet Competition 2012 Audience Award. Designed and made by Victoria Taylor of TORY & KO. Jewellers, the tiara will be set with diamonds, white sapphires, pearls and semi-precious gemstones. If the winner is a male dancer there will be an exquisite pair of black diamond-set swan cufflinks as the prize.

Janet Taylor, New Zealand’s National Director of the Royal Academy of Dance says: “The Royal Academy of Dance is delighted to have TORY & KO. Jewellers as a sponsor of the Genée International Ballet Competition. Their design of a tiara and cufflinks as the prize for the winner of the Audience Award is a unique and appreciated addition to this prestigious competition, adding to the excitement of our final event on the 15th December at the St. James Theatre”.

A special V.I.P evening held at TORY & KO. Jewellers’ boutique in Wellington on 10th December revealed the tiara and cufflinks to the Chief Executive, Luke Rittner; Artistic Director of the Royal Academy of Dance, Lynn Wallis; staff of the Royal Academy of Dance from London and New Zealand, Genée International Ballet Competition staff and friends.

“We are thrilled with the opportunity to be part of such an international event within the ballet world and are excited about presenting the beautiful jewelled tiara or black diamond cufflinks on stage on the final night of the competition”, Kirstin O’Brien from TORY & KO. Jewellers said. “Victoria has created two stylised pieces - depicting swans as the central motif - perfect for the graceful art of ballet. We are certain that the recipient of the “Audience Award” will cherish their title as well as their prize.”

Victoria Taylor has described her inspiration for the tiara and cufflinks as: “ A dream come true. I wanted the tiara to be not only beautiful but also a symbolic piece of jewellery, created for the winning dancer for on and off stage wear. I have designed it so that it can be worn as a tiara, but also can have the central piece worn as a necklace and pendant. The cufflinks also feature the swan motif and will be elegant and dramatic with their black diamond-set sparkle. It was a wonderful thrill to be involved with such a creative and significant design brief.”

You Tube: to view Victoria Taylor or TORY & KO. Jewellers making the tiara (to be posted early December 2012)

Tickets for the Genée International Ballet Competition 2012, New Zealand, are now on sale via


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