Artiklar från 2008 – till idag

Artiklar från 2008 – till idag


Marco Masciari from Italy, Gold medalist Prix de Lausanne 2020. Photo Gregory Batardon

15 feb

I think it’s great to show contrasting sides of youth at Prix de Lausanne, to compete with different ways of dancing and the creative process

Created in 1973 the Prix de Lausanne is an annual international competition for young dancers age 15-18. Its goal is to discover, promote and support the finest talents. More than 70 of the world's most prestigious schools and companies are associated with Prix de Lausanne, the Royal Swedish Ballet and the Royal Swedish Ballet School are among the partners.

PDL2020 Class girls

Morning class with girls at Prix de Lausanne 2020. Photo Rodrigo Buas

Due to renovations of the Beaulieu Theater this years Prix de Lausanne took place in Montreux at the Stravinski Auditorium.

Each year’s prizewinners are able to benefit from either one-year’s apprenticeship with a Partner School or Partner Company of the candidates choice. The prix is not just a competition; it’s a week where the candidates work intensively in daily classes and coaching sessions with some of the most respected professionals in the dance world.

This year Nicolas Le Riche, artistic director for Royal Swedish Ballet and former étoile at the Paris Opera Ballet, coached the boys in their classical variation and Monique Loudières, former étoile at the Paris Opera Ballet, ballet teacher and ballet master, coached the girls classical variation.

Among the invited ballet teachers were Elisabeth Platel, director Paris Opera School, Patrick Armand, director San Francisco Ballet School and Clairemarie Osta, former étoile at the Paris Opera Ballet and head of the ballet education at the Royal Swedish Ballet School.

Contemporary teachers and coaches were Armando Braswell, director of Braswell Arts Center, Asier Uriagereka winner of the Prix de Lausanne 1993, Arman Grigorian, Véronique Jean and Deidre Chapman to mention some.

The week culminates in the finale, which is followed by the Networking Forum, a platform for non-prize winners to be seen by the Partner Schools and the Company Directors often leading to many scholarships and apprenticeships.

There were 377 applicants in total from 44 countries, 301 girls and 76 boys who auditioned for this years Prix de Lausanne. This year 84 candidates were selected in total to go to the Prix, 51 girls and 33 boys from 27 different countries of which 77 dancers came to Montreux to participate. The chosen candidates competed in two different levels, group A aged 15-16 and group B aged 17-18.

When they prepare for the competition, they get a set list of classical variations to choose from. Variations are from the traditional classical repertoire. Girls can choose from12 variations, boys from 10 variations. The variations are chosen to fit technically and artistically their age and knowledge.


Nicolas Le Riche is coaching Diogo Betencourt, at the third day of Prix de Lausanne. Photo Gregory Batardon

I ask Nicolas Le Riche about his experiences from coaching the boys.

During the week I only have 6 minutes, twice per candidate, once in the studio and once on stage. The candidates really have to be focused and that goes for me too. There is not much time but when you think of how much time you have to coach in a company it’s not too bad.

What's your opinion about the Prix?

I think it’s a great opportunity for students from different cultures to meet, to share and exchange experiences on their way to the career.

Have you participated in the Prix?

No, I was happy at the Paris Opera School, which is very strongly connected to the company. I worked hard and focused on getting a contract with the company so for me there was no reason to go to the Prix.

Colin Jacobs – Prix de Lausanne 2020 - Classical. Video Prix de Lausanne YouTube

Dansportalen met Colin Jacobs from Belgium studying at the Palucca University of Dance in Dresden Germany. Colin competed in group B, boys age 17-18 years.

You are from Belgium and you study at Palucca University of Dance in Germany how long have you been there and where did you study before?

”I’m representing Belgium but I’m also half Japanese. My mother, Megomi Jacobs, is from Japan, she is a ballet teacher and a former dancer. I lived in Japan until I was 5 years then I mowed to Finland.

My Father, Wilfried Jacobs, is Belgian and now the artistic coordinator and teacher at the Finish National Ballet School and a dancer at the Finish National Ballet.

I was educated at the school in Finland. Two years ago I started to study at the Palucca University of Dance.

How did you audition for the Prix?

I took part in the preselection in Lausanne this summer. I really enjoyed my time at the summer course – it’s a week I never will forget. I made so many friends there and it was a great course.

What did the summer program contain and how was the audition organized?

We had classical and contemporary training. The coaching of a classical variation were by Nicolas Le Riche. At the end of the summer course four dancers were chosen to go to the Prix. I was not chosen but they made a honor award for me, if some of the candidates of some reason could not go.

What variations have you prepared and why did you chose them?
I dance Basilio’s variation from Don Quixote. I started to work on it and my teachers thought I could do well with this variation. For the contemporary solo I have chosen Urge from Heinz Spoerli.

Colin Jacobs – Prix de Lausanne 2020 – Contemporary. Video Prix de Lausanne YouTube

Is there a friendly atmosphere among the candidates?
Everyone is really open here and you can get close to people really fast. I already knew four persons from the summer program when I came here so I didn’t feel alone.

How has this week been for you so far?

It’s very intense. I thought I would be much more nervous, but I have enjoyed the time here more than being nervous.

The first day we came here we had a yoga class. The teacher told us to choose a word for this week. I chose the word enjoy so I have really taken the time to enjoy being here and I also think it has helped me to calm down.

I really like the classes with Patrick Armand and I will try hard to remember the corrections I’ve got.

You have been taking part in Stora Daldansen in Falun?

I’ve been there twice. First year I made it for the finale the second year didn’t go so well.

What are your plans for the future?

I will stay another year at Palucca, I want to finish my education there. I would like to go to a company with mostly classical repertoire but also with modern.

Natali Täht – Prix de Lausanne 2020 – Classical. Video Prix de Lausanne YouTube

After the semi finale I meet with three candidates that study their fourth and last year at the Zürich Dance Academy:

Tamaki Kawakami from Japan

Natali Täht from Estonia

Catarina Pires from Portugal.

How did you think it went in the semi finale?

Natali: We are very happy, we did a good job.

Tamaki: We were able to do our best on stage.

Catarina: We represented our school in a good way I think and now we are very excited to see the results.

Tamaki Kawakami – Prix de Lausanne 2020 – Contemporary. Video Prix de Lausanne YouTube

What has been the biggest challenge and what have you achieved here?

Catarina: In the beginning of the week I got very stressed because the ballet class was very challenging so I had to fight mentally.

On the second day I decided to calm my brain and concentrate on what was important and do my best. Something I’ve gotten better at here is to get the best out of myself without the mental stress taking over.

Tamaki: Before I came here I was more scared than excited but I like it here I’ve been dreaming of coming here. I’ve learned a lot not only from the teachers but also from the other dancers. I also got practice in coping with a really tough schedule.

Natali: The whole experience is so nice. There are so many good teachers and you can learn from the other dancers, there is a very friendly and generous atmosphere. It’s so motivating and inspiring to be here.

Catarina Pires – Prix de Lausanne 2020 Finalist – Classical. Video Prix de Lausanne YouTube

You came here to look for jobs what plans do you have considering that?

Catarina: I would like to do mostly classical but I want to go to a company that also has good contemporary repertoire.

Tamaki: I also would like to do mostly classical ballet.

Natali: I also love classical ballet there are so many classics I would like to dance.

Catarina Pires made it for the finale. She got the Audience Favorite Prize.She danced lead variation act 2 from Paquita and Chroma from Wayne McGregor.

Lukasz Baloniak – Prix de Lausanne 2020 – Classical. Video Prix de Lausanne YouTube

I met Polish Lukasz Baloniak and his teacher Eduardo Bablidze from the Roman Turczynowicz State Ballet School in Warsaw.

Lukasz How are you feeling after the semi finale?

I’m feeling pretty good everything can be better but generally I’m satisfied, we will see what life brings.

What have you achieved during this week?

It’s hard to explain. The whole competition is full of opportunities for me to develop as a dancer. It’s an honour to be here and we have been very well taken care of.

What hopes do you have for the future?

I hope that if I don’t make it to the finale someone will see me and say, ”That boy is interesting I like his movements” that would be the best achievement for me. Of course I want to go to the finale but if not I will not be unsatisfied or go crazy.

Mr Bablidze what is your opinion about the Prix?

I think it’s really well organized and a very good atmosphere. The level of the dancers is very high and it’s hard competition. It’s been a great experience and I think my student is happy to be able to take part in the competition.

Matei Holeleu – Prix de Lausanne 2020 Prize Winner – Classical. Video Prix de Lausanne YouTube

After the semi finale I got an interview with Matei Holeleu from Romania one of the 21 finalists. He studies his third and last year at the Ballet School in Basel.
Congratulations how are you feeling?

I’m feeling really good and exited especially for tomorrow for the finale. It’s been a really fun week that I enjoyed very much.

How long have you prepared for this?

I wanted to go to the Prix since I started to train ballet so I auditioned in the summer course in Lausanne. In Romania I watched the Prix on the web and started to dream about going there. It was when I watched the Prix I decided to start training ballet.

Before I came to Basel I did ballroom dancing and just a little bit of ballet. My ballet teacher told me that I had talent for ballet and should go for it. When you compete in ballroom dancing you have to show 10 dances right after each other without any intermission. That made me strong and gave me a good stamina.

I got in contact with Amanda Bennet who was the director of the Prix and of the Ballet School in Basel. I asked her if I could come to do an audition for the ballet school. I got in and started to train ballet and contemporary full time.

What are your plans for the future?

I would like to go to a company with both classical and contemporary repertoire. It’s very important for me to be able to do both.

Matei Holeleu got two prizes in the finale. Best Swiss Candidate and a prize from Fondation Albert Amon. He danced Paquita, Grand Pas variation and Urge from Heinz Spoerli.

Matei Holeleu – Prix de Lausanne 2020 Prize Winner – Contemporary. Video Prix de Lausanne YouTube

In 2018 a new choreographic project was introduced at the Prix. The Partner Schools were invited to send two of their best students to Lausanne to create a collaboration.

For the first collaboration 50 students from all-around the world came to Beaulieu Theatre, independently of the competition, to learn a new piece created by the choreographer Goyo Montero.

The year after 26 dancers met in Lausanne to create a new piece with the Dutch choreographer Didy Veldman.

This year the choreographer Maruro Bigonzetti has been asked to make a creation for 26 students from 13 different Partner Schools. The Royal Swedish Ballet School was invited to take part with Inka Keränen and Carl Sjö̈gren.

The choreographic project is meant to give the students an experience of an intense and stimulating working atmosphere that gives them a preview of how a professional company works to prepare a new choreography.

Maruro Bigonzetti’s piece was performed in the interlude after the Finals and before the award ceremoni.

It was impressive and touching to see how well and expressive the students performed, learning a new piece in a completely new style for them in only one week.

They performed excellent and the audience was enthusiastic.

Prix de Lausanne 2020 – Finals Interlude Royal Ballet School. Video Prix de Lausanne YouTube

In the interlude there was also two pieces performed by 13 of the best students from the Royal Ballet School, Larina Waltz choreography Ashley Page and an excerpt from Rhapsody choreography Frederic Ashton.

Among the students were several Prix de Lausanne prizewinners and finalists. The students danced with impressive technique and artistry.

Prix de Lausanne 2020 – Finals Interlude Royal Ballet School. Video Prix de Lausanne

During the week in Montreux I met with Clairemarie Osta, Inka Keränen and Carl Sjögren from the Royal Swedish Ballet School to ask them about their experiences from the choreographic project.

Did you prepare anything from this choreography before you came here?

Carl: No everything is made here in the studio.

How was your first day here?

Carl: We started with a class with Clairemarie and got to meet the other students, from France, Cuba, Canada, Germany, Switzerland, USA, Hungary, Portugal, the Netherlands and Denmark. After class we started with the choreography. We got most of the material already the first day. We had to learn very fast.

Inka: Maruo also wanted to get to know us as dancers and to decide how he wanted to use us in his piece.

How is the atmosphere among you dancers?

Inka: It’s been very inspiring everybody has been very open. I think we have created a very nice group. That is necessary to be able to dance together and to present strongly to the audience.

Carl: It’s been easy to make friends. When you dance together you are very close, so in a short time you make contact.

What has been the biggest challenge for you?

Carl: Maruo's style is new to us. There are very big differences within the choreography. Sometimes it’s very fast; sometimes it’s very slow, he works with big contrasts and various phrasing.

It’s also been a challenge to take space. We from the Nordic countries are a bit shy so we stay at the back in the studio not like the southern Europeans; they go to the front right away. It’s not that they’re impolite in any way; I need to learn and dare to show myself more.

Inka: When Maruo gives the material you have to get it right away. You have to be present and ready to try the choreography immediately. It’s more like working in a professional company I guess.

What’s the best thing about being here?

Inka: Everything, We have been very inspired by working with the other students, the teachers and to have the opportunity to work closely with a choreographer like Maruo. In my opinion he’s a genius, to see how he uses the dancers and creates.

What new experiences will you bring from here?

Carl: We have made new contacts and we have both learned a lot. We have realized how important it’s to be fast to pick up new choreography and to take space.

Personally I’ve developed my contemporary technique. I have been challenged in new ways here that are different from what I have done at school.

Would you like to take part in the competition in the future?

Carl: No it’s not for me, I would be too nervous. It’s been great to be here to be able to take part of the teaching, to work with Maruo and to make new friends.

Inka: I have really appreciated the way it’s been here. We have been able to take part without too much pressure. I think I’ve been able to enjoy this more than if I had competed. The competition is of course a wonderful occasion that offers many opportunities.

Clairemarie Osta:I would like to comment on what you said about being here taking part without the pressure of the competition.

When the candidates have gone through the experience of the competition they will have achieved a strength that they didn’t have before.

For example, a strength you need as a dancer when you go to an audition. I’ve been taking part in Prix de Lausanne, in the competition in Varna and in Concour Mediterranean.

It was like a journey like taking part in the Olympic Games, hard but an educational challenge. I’m not against what you said but want you to consider what you can gain from taking part in the competition.

Of course it's hard but try to think on the positive side of it, what you can learn. If you have a talent you should be generous with it. It’s not about winning it’s about challenging yourself.

Finals Interlude – Prix de Lausanne 2020. Video from Prix de Lausanne YouTube

Before Inka and Carl have to leave they agree on that challenging yourself will make you grow and will make your mind stronger. I continue to talk to Clairemarie.

How do you think the students have cooped with the work this week?

They are doing very well. They are aware of the responsibility to their school. It’s been very developing for them to meet with Mauro.

I think it’s great to show contrasting sides of youth in the Prix the challenge – to compete with different ways of dancing and the creative process.

I think it also will be a benefit for the students in the school at home when the ones that took part here will share their experiences with them.

What’s your experience from taking part in the competition?

I took part in the Prix in1987. I was 16 years old it was my first competition. I was studying at the Conservatoire in Paris at the time. It was a wonderful experience I met many people that I met again later during my career.

The rules were different at that time. Anyone that wanted to compete could take part. The first two days we had audition during classes. Violette Verdy and Jan Nodes were teaching. I made it to the semi finale.

At that time we could choose any classical solo. I danced a solo from Le Corsaire. The contemporary solo I danced was specially made for me. I got the feedback from the jury that it was maybe to contemporary, so I was ahead of my time.

Later I met Violette Verdy at the Paris Opera when I was a soloist there. Of course I remembered her but she also remembered me. The Prix is a good occasion for a young dancer to go to, to have the opportunity to meet the profession and to be noticed.


Clairemarie Osta, during a morning class at Prix de Lausanne. Photo PDL

Every year Prix de Lausanne gives out an award for Life Time Achievement to an artist in the dance field. This year the price was given to Carolyn Carlson. For four decades she has been a contemporary dancer, choreographer and poet with an international career. Her biggest inspiration is Alvin Nikolas. She has worked from and developed his ideas about movement, composition and teaching.

Carolyn was directing the Cullberg Ballet 1993-1995 where she created a full-length evening for the company Sub Rosa. Her way of working opened up new doors for the dancers and developed them further.

Carolyn Carlson received her award on stage in the Stravinski Auditorium in front of a full house with an enthusiastic audience.

Then the president of this year’s jury Frédéric Olivieri – director of the ballet company and the school at La Scala in Milan – announced the prizewinners! The exciting moment the audience had been waiting for.

Ava Arbuckle – Silver medalist Prix de Lausanne 2020 – Classical. Video Prix de Lausanne You Tube

All the prizewinners presented their variations with a high technical and artistic level. Ava Arbuckle dances with an artistic quality and maturity that is unusual to see in such a young dancer.


Marco Masciari at the prize ceremony. Photo PDL

Marco Masciari,studying at Académie Princess Grace, who got the gold medal is an outstanding young talent strong, elegant and with a strong charisma, a well-deserved winner. He also seems like a generous person. When he received the gold medal he turned to the audience and said:

I want to dedicate this prize to Kotomi Yamada who studies at the same school as me. She broke her toe during the week so she couldn’t complete the competition. God knows how hard she has worked, Kotomi this medal is for us.

Marco Masciari – Gold medalist Prix de Lausanne 2020 – Classical. Video Prix de Lausanne YouTube

The 8 Prix de Lausanne 2020 Prize Winners are:

  2. AVA ARBUCKLE – United States
  4. LIN ZHANG – China
  5. CHAEYON KANG – South Korea
  6. MATEI HOLELEU – Romania
  8. YUYAN WANG – China

Other Prizes:
Best Young Talent Prize: AVA ARBUCKLE - United States
Contemporary Dance Prize: MARCO MASCIARI – Italy
Best Swiss Candidate Prize: MATEI HOLELEU – Romania
Web Audience Favourite Prize: UYAN WANG – China
Audience Favourite Prize: CATARINA PIRES – Portugal
Finalists Prize: Finalists who have not been awarded any scholarship will each receive CHF 1 000;-

Margareta Lidström
Montreux, Switzerland

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