If you’re anything like us this month you have been glued to the computer screen enthralled by the Prix De Lausanne competition. The wonders of modern technology means that even though we are sitting 16,480km away (on the Gold Coast) the organisations live streaming of classes, rehearsals and competition mean we feel like we are sitting in that amazing theatre watching the action unfold.
So what is the Prix De Lausanne, why is it so prestigious and what does the scholarship program really mean for the up and coming ballerinas of today?
Prix De Lausanne was founded by Philippe Braunschweig and his wife, Elvire Kremis in 1973. It is an annual international competition for young ballet dancers. Opens to all nationalities aged 15-18 who are not yet professionals. But this year, they lowered the minimum age requirement. Talented dancers aged to 14 years and 6 months now have the chance to enter the elite competition. This is to give the slightly younger student the proper entry age for most professional schools during the same competition year.
The ballet competition advocates the principle that a good dancer should be of a healthy mind and healthy body. Winners receive prestigious scholarships, and sometimes internships to leading companies. Prix De Lausanne usually takes place at the end of January to beginning of February each year at the Théâtre de Beaulieu in Switzerland. This year it ran from January 28 to February 4, 2018. To take part, candidates submitted a video of themselves, the committee then selected up to 78 candidates to participate in the competition.
Many famous dancers who have now gone on to become principals in major ballet companies once started their career at the Prix de Lausanne, these include:
- Philip Neal (won in 1985), principal dancer with New York City Ballet.
- Darcey Bussell (won in 1986) retired Prima Ballerina with the Royal Ballet now strictly come dancing judge
- José Carlos Martinez (won in 1987), principal with the Ballet de l’Opéra de Paris.
- Benjamin Millepied (won in 1994), principal dancer with New York City Ballet who is also widely known for his work in the movie Black Swan (2010).
- Gillian Murphy (won in 1995) now principal dancer with the ABT
- Hee Seo (won in 2003), principal with American Ballet Theatre. She’s the first Korean ballerina and was one of the youngest to be promoted to principal dancer in ABT.
- Chengwu Go (won in 2006), principal with The Australian Ballet. He played the young Li Cunxin in the 2009 Australian film Mao’s Last Dance.
(that list could go on and on and on)
Prix De Lausanne started when the founder Philippe Braunschweig and his wife, Elvire had a visit to Cannes in 1972. They discussed with the great American ballerina Rosella Hightower their desire to launch a competition in Lausanne the following year. Together with Maurice Bejart, she agreed to offer prize winners a grant for training in their respective schools namely Mudra Brussels and Centre International de Danse in Cannes. They thought that for them to enhance the credibility of the event, a third serious reference is needed. Braunschweig then went to London to request the support of the Royal Ballet School. He then met Michael Wood, the director of the institution who also backed up the competition. Philippe Braunschweig considered him as the most important man in his life for without him, he’s not sure how Prix De Lausanne would have been possible.
As Prix gained its credibility and with its excellent reputation, it became world-renowned. Princess Caroline de Monaco was present during their 20th year, and Prince Takamado of Japan was the guest of honour in the 1996 competition. Prix De Lausanne also had three big foreign trips. New York City in 1985, Tokyo in 1989, and Moscow in 1995.
Congratulations to this years winners click here
A special mention to 17yr old Shale Wagman from Canada (trains at Academie Princesse Grace, Monaco) who was outstanding throughout the entire competition. Here is a link to one of his performances, we will follow his career and expect big things.
Shale Wagman - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n_DP-fxwr7I
Carolyne Galvao - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5ubxP-2BBYE
See more videos from the 2018 Prix de Lausanne here
Australians were outstanding throughout the entire event and we want to congratulate them. They represented our country so well on and off the stage and we wish them all the best as some of them embark on their next chapter later this year.
- Joel Burke (Queensland Ballet Academy)
- Audrey Freeman (Tanya Pearson Classical Coaching Academy)
- Primrose Kern (Claudia Dean Coaching, Annette Roselli Dance Academy)
- Phoebe Kilminster (Joanne Grace School of Dance)
- Layla Kluss (Classical Coaching Australia)
- Matisse Lewis (The Jane Moore Academy of Ballet)
- Dominie Lythgoe (Classical Coaching Australia)
- Matthew Maxwell (Annette Roselli Dance Academy)
- Nichola Schapendonk (The Australian Conservatoire of Ballet)
- Kayla Van Den Bogert (Karen Ireland Dance Centre)
- Saskia Vogt (The Conlan College)