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During the Lunar New Year holidays, IT came to stay for a few days and suggested that we see the Prix de Lausanne. Much of what we wrote below came from the official press kit.

The Prix de Lausanne is an international competition for young ballet dancers of all nationalities aged 15 to 18 who are not yet professionals. Created in 1973 in our temporary hometown, this is the 42nd year of the ballet competition.

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One of the signature features of the Prix de Lausanne is that the competition week is also a training week for candidates. They rehearse their variations under the guidance of Principals who help them work on the artistic interpretation of the roles, and they also take classes with renowned teachers. Because of the families and the staff, we had to buy tickets for the finale weeks way ahead of time because they would sell out quickly.

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In order to participate in the competition week in Lausanne, candidates must prepare two solos: a classical variation and a contemporary variation. Only 20 dancers advance to the finale. If you are impatient, go to the bottom of the post to see a video of the winner’s performances.

Warming up

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Throughout the competition the jury will evaluate a candidate’s potential as a ballet dancer by considering:
Artistry

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Physical suitability

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Courage and individuality

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An imaginative and sensitive response to the music

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A clear grasp in communicating differing movement dynamics

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Technical facility, control, and coordination

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The full length video of the finale is on Youtube.

While advanced technical skills will be taken into account, jurors’ primary focus will be on the candidate’s potential to succeed as a professional ballet dancer.

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The Prix de Lausanne team is a large, family-like group of people, all of whom offer their time and competence on a voluntary basis. 61 of the world’s most prestigious dance schools and companies, such as the Royal Ballet School of London, the School of American Ballet in New York, and the Béjart Ballet Lausanne, are associated with the competition.

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Winning a Prix de Lausanne scholarship enables a prize winner to gain free access to the finest dance schools or to be accepted without an audition for an apprenticeship with the most renowned ballet companies. It thus opens the door to a year of top-level training and represents a fast track to the start of an international career.

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The jury panel, whose members are among the most celebrated in the dance world. For 2014, the panel was  chaired by the former Principal of the New York City Ballet and co-chairman of the School of American Ballet, New York.

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The winner was the 17-year old, Mr Niyama Haruo 二山治雄 of Japan from the Hakucho Ballet Academy. His winning performances:

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The competitors, the supporting families, the participants who did not make it to the finale, the younger dancers in the audience are so visibly passionate and dedicated to this art form. One can see and feel it in the air. The competition was serious, personal, educational and authentic, and way  better and more satisfyingly entertaining than any contest on reality TV.

The competition organizer’s web site contains a lot more videos of the six days of competitions – click here to enjoy.

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