Photo by Gregory Batardon, courtesy Prix de Lausanne. The prestigious Prix de Lausanne ballet competition takes place this week, with the finals on Saturday. Lausanne live streams the competition, allowing fans to witness the competition’s daily activities, selections, and finals. Lausanne provides a great service to the ballet world, allowing fans to see stars of the future and give a behind the scenes perspective of the competition. Videos of the previous days are on the Lausanne YouTube channel. The video from day one features variations from the guys, an interview with former Bolshoi and ABT Principal Dancer Nina Ananiashvili, and an interview and class with contemporary teacher Duncan Rownes. Day two features variations from the women.
The competition is a big event that has a great influence on determining dancers you will see onstage in the future. From the first competition in 1973, past winners are a Who’s Who in the ballet world: Alessandra Ferri 1980; Viviana Durante 1984; Philip Neal 1985; Julie Kent 1986; Darcey Bussell 1986; Ethan Stiefel 1989; Carlos Acosta 1990; Christopher Wheeldon 1991; Diana Vishneva 1994; Benjamin Mellipied 1994; Gillian Murphy 1995; Marcelo Gomes 1996; Alina Cojucaro 1997; Sergei Pollunin 2006; Vadim Montagirov 2006.
Dancers range in age from 14-19. Prizes consist of one year’s tuition and 20,000 Swiss Francs (about $21,500) for living expenses at top schools chosen by the winner. For winners over the age of 17, Apprentice scholarships are available to such programs as ABT’s Studio Company, Australian Ballet, English National Ballet, Het Nationnale Ballet-Junior Company, Royal Danish Ballet, Stuttgart Ballet. As noted in the Lausanne website, the Prix is not just a competition, but a week where candidates work in daily classes and coaching sessions with leading figures in the dance world.