CSSA Competitions and Awards

Cyril Beaumont Award

Cyril Beaumont photo used with permission by Raffaello Bencini

Cyril William Beaumont was born in London, brought up in a cultivated, middle-class family, and educated at local schools. As a youth, his parents directed him toward a career as a research chemist, but he was not a good student. Interested in theatre history, languages, and fine books, he abandoned his scientific studies to pursue a career in bookselling. In 1910, when he was nineteen, his father bought a small shop at 75 Charing Cross Road, in central London, and set him up in business as a seller of literary classics and rare books. There, he was introduced to dance by Alice Mari Beha, his shop assistant, who encouraged him to attend ballet performances by Anna Pavlova and Mikhail Mordkin in 1911 and by the Ballets Russes de Sergei Diaghilev in 1912.[3] As a result, he became a budding balletomane. In December 1914, Beaumont married Alice Beha, who shared his interests and who was instrumental in making their business successful.

In 1917, Beaumont expanded his sphere of operations by founding the Beaumont Press and beginning to publish fine books of poetry, essays, and other literary works.[4] However, as his affinity for ballet developed into a deep passion, the inventory at his shop gradually changed from a focus on general literature to a concentration on dance. He began writing and publishing articles on ballet and increasing his inventory of books on dance and the theatrical arts. By 1920 his shop had become a centre for ballet lovers as well as fans of other dance forms. With a large and diverse stock of books in dance literature, it was internationally known as a source of works in history, criticism, and appreciation of the art. It remained so until it closed in 1965, after fifty-five years of operation.[5]

Over those years, Beaumont became a friend and mentor to countless dancers, teachers, and researchers throughout the world. Among his friends was the Russian ballerina Lydia Lopokova, who took him in 1918 to observe a class taught by the Italian ballet master and pedagogue Enrico Cecchetti. Beaumont was favourably impressed by what he saw. He soon became a friend of Cecchetti’s and a strong advocate of his method of training students. At Cecchetti’s urging, he spent the next four years working with the maestro and dancer Stanislas Idzikowski to codify and preserve the Cecchetti method of teaching. Their collaboration resulted in a technical manual (1922) that is still used today to train dancers around the world. Beaumont also worked as coauthor with Cecchetti-trained dancer Margaret Craske in producing work on allegro technique, published some years later.[6]

In 1922, as Cecchetti neared retirement, Beaumont, along with Craske, Friderica Derra de MorodaNinette de ValoisMarie Rambert, and others, founded the Cecchetti Society, with the maestro himself as president and his wife as vice-president. Its purpose was to disseminate and monitor the master’s style and method of teaching. The Cecchetti Society remained independent until 1924, when it was absorbed into the Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing, which now oversees the training of dancers in the Cecchetti method in the United Kingdom, the United States, Canada, Australia, and South Africa.[7]

Beaumont was president of the Cecchetti Society for many years (1923–1970), editor of Dance Journal (1924–1939), and influential ballet critic of The Sunday Times (1950–1959). He also served as chairman of the ballet section of the London Critics Circle (1951–1961). Throughout his life he maintained a formal, somewhat reserved, demeanour in public—he always wore a neat suit and tie, and, in deference to his erudition, almost everyone called him Mr. Beaumont[8]—but he was welcoming, friendly, and helpful to the patrons of his shop, whether they were famous dancers or student researchers.[9] He continued to write after he closed his shop and remained a revered figure in the dance world until his death in 1976.

“Each year, throughout the world, The Cyril Beaumont Bursary Award is held in honour and memory of this remarkable man”.

The CSSA competition offers a bursary to the winner of the award. This is made possible through various generous donations as well as contributions from Regional Branches and members of CSSA.

The competition aims to not only recognise the talent which has been so well-nurtured by the teachers of CSSA but also to encourage a promising young dancer to further flourish in a dancing career by awarding this bursary and the opportunities associated with it. The competition pays tribute to past and present teachers, examiners and regional committees for their dedication, fervour, energy, enthusiasm and contribution in securing a place for South African dancers around the world and ensuring that the art of dance flourishes in this country, under the banner of the Cecchetti Society of Southern Africa.

The competition is usually held during the week-long Cecchetti Summer School which takes place in December every other year. The competition always welcomes a distinguished panel of adjudicators, guest teachers and pianists.

Candidates in the Cecchetti Method who have achieved 75% or above in the Advanced II examination are eligible to compete in this competition. Candidates may not have exceeded 20 years of age on the date of examination entry and may not hold a higher ballet examination qualification or have been a paid professional dancer for longer than three months. Competitors are required to participate fully in all Level III classes at Summer School as well as to perform two classical repertoire solos in the competition. The first solo is the candidate’s choice from the classical repertoire. The second solo is the male or female classical repertoire selection taught by a guest teacher and/or adjudicator during the Summer School. Competitors are observed and interviewed by the adjudicating panel during the Summer School and the adjudicators select finalists after the preliminaries. The Bursary, which is intended for further dance education, is awarded in advanced at the discretion of the adjudicators.

Past recipients

  • Ann Lloyd / Abdullah Patton – 1971
  • Pamela Mowatt – 1974
  • Mark Hawkins – 1981
  • Sandra Ashwin – 1984
  • Angela Malan – 1988
  • Claire Winter – 1992
  • Kim Viera / Tania Cross – 1995
  • Durell Hammond – 1998
  • Elizabeth Nienaber – 2005
  • Conrad Nusser – 2011
  • Kathleen Videira – 2013
  • Chanté Daniels – 2015
  • Phillipa McCann – 2017
  • Sumé Wille – 2019
  • Meghan Klynveld – 2023



Please contact E. Ceronio (elesiaceronio@gmail.com) if you are in a position to provide additional photographs of past recipients.

Awards bestowed on dancers in the profession who received training from CSSA teachers

Madge Cade Award

Lauryn Summerley

The late Madge Cade was a great supporter of South African ballet and she established The Madge Cade Trust to encourage the advancement of ballet and, in particular, that of young dancers performing with PACT Ballet in the early stages of their professional careers.  When PACT Ballet disbanded, the Madge Cade Trustees decided to amalgamate the trust into the SABT Trust, as they believed that SABT fulfilled the desires of the late Madge Cade. The Madge Cade Award is presented annually in memory of Ms Cade. Past Madge Cade Award winners include SABT Company Driver Philemon Bela and Ballet Mistress and Soloist Lauren Dixon-Seager.

The award winners are selected by SABT management and go to individuals or organisations who have contributed to the Company in the dancing, technical and administration fields. The winners would be those who have gone beyond the call duty of to assist the Company achieve its goals.

On Friday, 30 September 2011, three Madge Cade Awards were presented, including one to Senior Soloists Lauryn Summerley, and her frequent dance partner Humberto Montero.

Lauryn Summerley was born in Johannesburg and trained with Lynne Fouché and Gail Myburgh. She was coached by Paula Olivier and Liane Lurie. She trained for two years at the English National Ballet School under the tutelage of Anthony Dowson, Francine Richard and Jean-Paul Pascal.

She studied Spanish dance with Hazel Acosta for 6 years obtaining honours in all her examinations up to and including Curso Quatro. She also obtained honours up to Grade 5 with the Spanish Dance Society.

She studied the Cecchetti Method obtaining honours in all her examinations. In 1995 Lauryn won the Mabel Ryan Award and was recipient of the Val Whyte Award in 1996. She won the Natalie Stern Trophy for the Most Artistic Dancer and won both Ballet and Spanish championships at the 1997 Concours de Ballet.

Lauryn joined SABT in 2002 and was promoted to Senior Corps de Ballet in March 2003, Soloist in 2005 and Senior Soloist in January 2009. In March 2009 Lauryn made her debut in the title role of Cinderella – the Ballet at the Joburg Theatre with Humberto Montero. In June 2009 she re-created the role of Swanhilda in Coppélia at the Promusica Theatre in Roodepoort.

Her roles for SABT include the following: Odile, Pas de Trois, Cygnets and Fiancées in Swan Lake; The Lilac  Fairy, Golden Vine Fairy, Songbird Fairy, Pas de Quatre and Friends in The Sleeping Beauty; Peasant Pas de Deux, Myrthe Queen of the Willis and Zulma in Giselle; Louise, Snow Queen, Sugar Plum Fairy, Spanish, Chinese and Arabian in The Nutcracker; Camille in La Traviata; Swanhilda, Dawn and Friends in Coppélia;  Ophelia, Lead Lady and Friends in Hamlet; Jumping Lady and Five Ladies in Who Cares; Princess Rose and Cleo Queen of Denial in Rock-a-Tutu; the title role as well as Summer and Winter Fairy in Cinderella; the Spring Pas de Deux in Sean Bovim’s ballet Ngi Zothi Sala Kahle Kusa; Pas de Quatre in Kopano; Pas de Cinq in Papillion; Friends, Troubadours and Harlots in Romeo and Juliet; Girlfriends and lead Dryads in Don Quixote and Prelude and the Pas de Deux in Les Sylphides.

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Lauryn Summerley

Lauryn Summerley & Andries Weideman. Photo by Patrick de Mervelac

Lauryn Summerley & Andries Weideman. Photo by Patrick de Mervelac

Lauryn Summerlay

Lauryn Summerley with Mr James Campbell – Vice-Chairman SABT Board of Executives (Photo by Mariola Bela)

Lauryn Summerley

Lauryn Summerley as Rose in ‘Rock-a-Tutu’ (photo by Susanne Bergh)

Class ACT Rewarding excellence in the arts with the Arts and Culture Trust Awards 2009

Angela Malan

The winners of the prestigious The Arts & Culture Trust (ACT) Awards were announced in Johannesburg on 6 November 2009. Since 1998the ACT Awards have recognised almost 300individuals, organisations and agencies. A total of ten awards were presented in the disciplines of Music, Theatre, Visual Arts, Craft, Dance, Design, Fashion, Heritage, Literature and Opera.”The ACT Top 10 for2010 is a spectacular way to celebrate our best,” said ACTChairperson, Brenda Devar addressing a select audience of invited guests. “Our purpose here today is wonderfully simple: to honour the accomplishments of our peers. The recipients for the2009awards are individuals who have made creative contributions of outstanding significance in their chosen disciplines and whose work has shaped the arts and culture landscape, ofSouth Africa.”To manage the risk of subjectivity inherent in all awards, the nomination process for the ACT awards is open to the public and every year a new panel of judges is convened,” said Ashraf Johaardien, general manager of the Trust. “So, while the aim of the annual ACT Awards remains the same as in previous years, this year the three ACT Lifetime Excellence Awards selected by the ACTBoard are augmented by seven new ACT Excellence Awards across a range of disciplines and selected by an external panel of judges.”In the DANCE category, the 2009ACT Award winner is Angela Malan, senior Principal Dancer and founder member of The South AfricanBallet Theatre (SABT). Her roles with SABT have included the title roles in “Giselle” and Veronica Paeper’s “Carmen” amongst others.(Reprinted from The Citizen)

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