Dansportalen
PDL2019

Prize Winners 2019 with the jury. Standing from left: 416 Gabriel Figueredo, 412 Shuailun Wu, Gillian Murphy, Èric Vu-An, Miyako Yoshida, Ivan Gil-Ortega, Julio Bocca, Samuel Wuersten, Carlos Acosta, Garry Trinder, Madeleine Onne, 203 João Vitor Da Silva. Kneeling from left: 313 Sumina Sasaki, 316 Mio Sumiyama, 418 Alexandre Joaquim, 126 Mackenzie Brown, 408 Yu Wakizuka. Photo PDL.

"There are few contests which are fair, but this is as fair it can get"

LAUSANNE, SWITZERLAND: Prix de Lausanne 2019 selected 74 dancers to participate out of 373 who applied. 21 dancers got to the final.

Dancers from Far East dominate always this contest and this year was no exception, when around 60 percent came from South Korea, Japan, China and Australia.

At the end of the Finals, the jury, presided this year by the ballet star and Prize Winner of Prix de Lausanne 1990, Carlos Acosta, selected 8 Prize Winners.

Marcia Haydée received the 2019 Life Time Achievment Award.

From Scandinavia came two dancers, David Didkovsky Mikadze from Gothenburg and Laureen Laar from Oslo. Unfortunately, none of them made it to the final.

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Marcia Hardée and Stéphane Lagonico, President PDL at press conference. Photo C Hillbom

Prix de Lausanne is an event which for the dancers means a full week. Every day filled with classes, rehearsals or just coaching.

The jury is present even under classes and rehearsals and not only when the dancers show their variations on stage.

Chairman of the jury was Carlos Acosta and in the nine-person jury was Madeleine Onne – read later in this article when Dansportalen met Madeleine in a short break.

Three of the members in the jury were former Prize Winner, Prix de Lausanne: Carlos Acosta 1990, Gillian Murphy 1995 and Miyako Yoshida 1993. Ivan Gil-Ortega was Finalist 1994.

During the week Dansportalen made interviews with some dancers as well, I mean they are the headpersons this week!

I came to Lausanne in the beginning of the week, so I got a good chance to watch classes and rehearsals. It starts from 8-9 in the morning and goes on until 7-8 in the evening – if you want to follow everything. It is not open for the public until Fridays two performances – Juniors and Seniors, when the jury select dancers for the final on Saturday.

But with my press badge I could access the premises together with around 20-30 other journalists, photographers and bloggers. There were press teams from Japan, South Korea and China as well as from France and Switzerland.

Meet Laureen Laar, Estonia, 18.10 years, Oslo National Academy of Arts, Norway

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Laureen Laar in Croma. Photo C Hillbom

She participates in the Senior group and has chosen Kitri’s variation from Don Quixote and Chroma by Wayne McGregor. She is in Lausanne with her teacher, Ms Josephine Jewkes, professor in classical ballet at the Academy.

I asked how she ended up in Norway and she tells me it’s an interesting story. “I was in the Nordic Baltic Ballet Competition in Falun, Sweden, two year in a row, 2015 and 2016. The first year a teacher from the Academy – Zoltan Szolnoki – invited me to an audition. When I was in Falun second time, I won first prize so they noticed me more.”

She has now been in Oslo for 2,5 years – and also now understands Norwegian well.

Ms Josephine Jewkes says: “We look for people who are interesting and try to bring out the special beauty they have in each one of them. I think we have a collection of such beautiful dancers, but I am also some sort of a lioness that the basic technique must be correct.”

Laureen started to dance in Estonia at a private school when she was six years old. She likes to be at the Academic school, they are only five Third Year-students in her class so they get all attention from the teacher.

How was the discussion when you chose the pieces to dance? “It was very easy because we agreed completely what I should dance,” says Laureen with a big smile.

“Kitri from Don Quixote is sparkling and has a lot of jumps and Laureen has beautiful jumps, says Ms Jewkes.

The modern piece is so different from Kitri (which is explosive and energetic) and with the modern piece’s different style, it gives me a chance to show a wide range in my dance, says Laureen.

Update after meetings with Partner schools and companies:
"Laureen Laar has accepted a contract with Norwegian National Ballet’s youth company ‘UNG’.

Li Cunxin of Queensland Ballet has also extended her an open invitation to train and perform with his school and company as part of an exchange arrangement. Laureen hopes to be able to take up this interesting opportunity at a mutually convenient time for both companies.

Laureen says that after her experiences at the Prix de Lausanne, she feels excited, inspired and eager to work even harder to learn and improve," says Ms Josephine Jewkes.

Meet David Didkovsky Mikadze, 15.3 years, Swedish National Ballet School in Gothenburg

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David Didkovsky Mikadze in Furia Corpis. Photo C Hillbom

“For us it’s most important they got experience, we see they change from the first day until the last day. When they are growing in their dance in only one week. They see from each other, they learn from each other and with coaches it’s an experience for them also,” says Roman Rumyantsev, coach for David.

Roman says you are growing in dance in just one week, David?
“This week has another technique and style. Usually our teachers are inspired by the Russian Vaganova style and here they use the French Checchi style.

And that was a demand for you when you must use another technique?
“Not at all, I have done it before and it’s a part of experience to learn new technique. New teachers have sometimes a new ballet technique.”

David started his dance training when he was 10 years at the National Ballet School in Gothenburg. He has selected Cola’s variation from La Fille Mal Gardée as his classical variation and Mauro Bigonzettis Furia Corporis. The Prix gives the dancers certain variations which they can chose from.

“We wanted variations which would fit me as a dancer,” says David.

“We had a nice discussion,” says Roman. “A matter of fact we wanted to offer David this variation earlier last autumn when we talked about going to the contest in Falun, Sweden.”

“We will be judged equally of the classical variation and the modern variation,” says David. “But I will put more pressure on the classical variation.”

“The way they are working here is good. Because they judge you how you do your class, take corrections from teachers and it’s always important, so you do your best,” says a humbled David.

Sunday update after meeting with schools and companies: David has got offers from different schools, which he now considering the offer.

Meet Shuailun Wu, 17.10 years, Beijing Dance Company, China

PDL2019

Shuailun Wu in Wayne McGregors Becoming. Photo C Hillbom

Is this the first time you are in Europe for a contest? "Yes, and I am very exited to be here too and this week I have learned a lot. Because it's at lot of teachers from different countries I have improved a lot," says Shuailun. He quickly grab an interpreter after my first question in English.

"But what I have with me is the great experience from beeing here in Lausanne. And see other dancers from many countries."

I asked him where he wanted to go and continue his training? And gave a quick reply:

"London!"

 

Meet Ms Madeleine Onne, member of the jury, now artistic director of the Finnish National Ballet

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Madeleine Onne under Conversation with the jury. Photo rbuas

Ms Onne is here at Prix for the second time, last time was 2011. She came from the position as artistic director of the Hong Kong Ballet. Former Principal Dancer, Royal Swedish Ballet.

What is the demand when in a jury like Prix de Lausanne?
“There are few contests which are fair, but this is as fair it can get. In one week, you get to know the individual students, get to see their strength and weakness and possibilities, because we look for potential. We are looking at who can be a future dancer.”

“We look at how they take class, modern and classical, and how they perform on stage, how they work when coached, and how they understand and are developing after the coaching. And of course, we look at how they perform – and that is what every director looks for.”

You can grade the dancers from 1 to 9, where 9 being the highest, do you use that system all the time?
“We don’t have to make marks all the time but we make our own notes. We talk to the dancers which don’t make it to the final. Then you need the notes.”

The point system at Prix is different to other contests, as 25 percent of the value of the mark is for Classical class, 25 percent is for Contemporary class, 25 percent is for Classical variation and 25 percent is for Contemporary variation.

Ms Onne continues: “They put all jury’s marks together, and we still discuss so it is not only the points, because we then discuss if we have missed someone. They might have huge potential, so this individual might be added. It is as fair it can get, but have a lot of discussions. But no one is taken away, if they got high points, they get what they deserved. And we do not miss anyone, that’s why we have our discussions. It’s a fantastic competition in that aspect.”

Finland National Opera is not a partner school at Prix de Lausanne?
"Not yet! It is due to government rules, because if we bring in students to the school, all teaching must be in the Finnish language. It is better we are a partner company, because the youth company can bring in foreigners.”

Meet João Vitor Da Silva, 15.9 years, Ballet Vórtice, Uberlandia, Brazil

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João Vitor Da Silva in Coppelia, Franz Act 3. Photo C Hillbom

João is here at Prix, thanks to a ballet teacher which is running a program in his hometown Uberlandia, in central Brazil. The teacher Guiomar Boaventura explains: “It’s a social program for kids which don’t have conditions to go to school, so I started it back in 1997, it’s a poor area in my town Uberlandia.”

Where do you get the money from for this project?
“I don’t get any money at all from the government.”

João says he got in contact with Ms Boaventuras social progran and there he started to dance when he was 12 years. He begun to dance twice a week and found he liked it and specially he liked classical ballet.

His older sister had been dancing for a short while, but he had never seen any ballet performances before he started to dance himself. But his first contact with dance was at a local Brazilian carnival dance festival in his area which he participated in.

João says: “Today I train six hours a day at her dance studio, and yes, my friends encourage me to dance.”

Prix de Lausanne had a pre-selection last year in Goiânia, Brazil and João won the contest. After that he was invited to participate in Prix de Lausanne.

To get João to Lausanne Ms Boaventuras got money from friends and other who support her program. This year Prix has helped her with money for airplane tickets, hotel and food.

“It has been a very special week and I will never forget all these moments, and I will continue to teach me more for the future,” says João.

Meet Shunhei Fuchiyama, 16.2 years, Acri Horimoto Ballet Academy, Tokyo, Japan

PDL2019

Shunhei Fuchiyama (right) before the final. Photo C Hillbom

“I have been dancing for 11 years, but I have earlier only been to contests inside Japan. This was my first trip to Europe.”

“I have developed a lot and the coaching and experience this week has helped me as a dancer. My favourite ballet is Don Quixote,” says Shunhei.

 

 

 

 

 

Meet Mackenzie Brown, 16.9 years, Princess Grace Academy, Prize Winner, Prix de Lausanne 2019

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Mackenzie Brown in Abstract. Photo C Hillbom

"I have been three years at Académie Princesse Grace in Monaco and I graduate next year," says Mackenzie, a very happy winner of Prix de Lausanne.

"Just to go here and participate in the competition is amazing, I have no words right now," says she with a big smile, and I see how happy she is.

"It was really an honor to work with those stars I looked up to and being able to learn from them."

How did you select the variations?
My director chose the modern variation, which was Abstract by Jean-Christoph Maillot, as we dance it also in our school so I am used to his repertoire.

And your classical variation?
"My director chose that too! And I will later have meetings with partner companies and schools," says an overjoyed Mackenzie Brown.

Good luck! I am sure we will see you on a stage in the near future. "Thank you!"

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Hanna O'Neill. Photo C Hillbom

PDL2019

Partner School Choreographic Project. Photo C Hillbom

During the jurys deliberations following the Finals, three interlude was given. Hanna O'Neill, Prize Winner of PDL 2009 performed the Hungarian variation from Raymonda. She is now Première danseuse at the Paris Opera Ballet.

The dancers Albert Nikolli and Leoannis Pupo-Guillen, from the Lyon Opera Ballet, performed Critical Mass, a choreography by Russel Maliphant.

For the second year in a row, the interlude ended with a world premiere peformance by the Choreographic Project's second edition participants. 26 dancers worked along with the Dutch choreographer Didy Veldman for almost a week to learn and rehearse her new creation.

Marcia Haydée receives the 2019 Life Time Achievment Award

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Marcia Haydée after receiving the award. Photo C Hillbom

Marcia Haydée was born in 1937 in Niteroi, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Following studies at the Royal Ballet School London, she danced with the company of Marquis de Cuevas. In 1961, John Cranko, newly appointed Artistic Director of the Stuttgart Ballet, invited Miss Haydée to become his leading ballerina. Not only John Cranko took her as his inspiration and created almost his entire repertoire, including such classics as Romeo and Juliet, Onegin, The Taming of the Shrew, and Carmen for her, but other major choreographers, including Kenneth Mac Millan, Glen Tetley, Jiří Kylián, William Forsythe, Mats Ek, and Uwe Scholz, came to Stuttgart to create new works for her.

After John Cranko’s death, two choreographers became the leading force in Marcia Haydée’s career: Maurice Béjart created Wien, Wien nur du allein, Operette, Chairs, Isadora and many other ballets for Marcia Haydée and John Neumeier created Lady of the Camellias, Streetcar Named Desire, Medea and Hamlet.

Marcia Haydée became Director of the Stuttgart Ballet from 1975 until 1996 and at the same time Director of the Santiago Ballet de Chile, from 1992 until 1995. In 1996, she stopped directing the Stuttgart Ballet and became a free-lancer.

In 2002, Maurice Béjart gave a new challenge to Marcia Haydée, creating for her Mother Teresa and the children of the world. For the first time on stage she is more an actress than a dancer. And her challenge is, in each country where she goes, reciting the entire text of peace, in the country’s language.

Since 2004, she is once again Director of the Santiago Ballet de Chile. In January 2007, she was on stage during a German tour with her Chilean Company and she herself portraying Mother Teresa. In 2012, she is on stage in a production of the Stuttgart Ballet, Madame Scuderi, by Christian Spuck.

One of the legendary ballerinas of our time, Marcia Haydée has danced on all major stages worldwide and has been hailed by critics around the world.

[About Marcia Haydée from Prix de Lausanne Program Book]



 

13 February 2019

Prize Winners 2019

FONDATION CARIS – JEUNE ESPOIR
126 – Mackenzie BROWN – United States

OAK FOUNDATION
416 – Gabriel FIGUEREDO – Brazil

EMILE CHOURIET
313 – Sumina SASAKI – Japan

BEAU-RIVAGE PALACE
408 – Yu WAKIZUKA – Japan

FONDATION ALBERT AMON
412 – Shuailun WU – China

BOURSE JEUNE ESPOIR
203 – João Vitor DA SILVA – Brazil

FONDATION COROMANDEL
418 – Alexandre JOAQUIM – Portugal

HARLEQUIN FLOORS
316 – Mio SUMIYAMA – Japan

Other Prizes:
MINERVA KUNSTSTIFTUNG
Contemporary Dance Prize: 126 – Mackenzie BROWN – United States

NUREYEV FOUNDATION
Best Young Talent Prize: 117 – Julia SHUGART – United States

ANONYMOUS DONOR
Best Swiss Candidate Prize: 313 – Sumina SASAKI – Japan

Audience Favourite Prize: 126 – Mackenzie BROWN – United States

Web Audience Favourite Prize: 125 – Jihyun CHOI – South Korea

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