Prix de Lausanne 2019 Choreographic Project participants in Didy Velman's Is To Be. Rodrigo Buas, Courtesy Prix de Lausanne.

Watch Students from the Royal Ballet School Perform at the 2020 Youth Olympic Games Opening Ceremony

For the ballet world, Lausanne, Switzerland means one thing: the home of the prestigious Prix de Lausanne. But dancers aren't the only ones to think of the French-speaking city as synonymous with competition. Lausanne is the base for the International Olympic Committee headquarters, and this year it is also hosting the Youth Olympic Games.


The 2020 winter games, which opened yesterday, run through January 22. And they invited the Prix to participate in their opening ceremony. The Prix brought in 14 students from London's Royal Ballet School, one of its official partner schools, to dance an adaption of Didy Veldman's Is To Be, which was created during the competition's 2019 Choreographic Project. Catch the high-energy performance below by clicking through to the official Olympic YouTube channel and fast forwarding to 46:43.

This performance wasn't the PDL's only involvement in the games. Director Kathryn Bradney was selected to relay the Olympic flame in Lausanne's Place de la Riponne earlier this week. "It is such a privilege for the Prix de Lausanne to be part of the Youth Olympic Games," says Bradney. "Our common missions of supporting and encouraging young elite artists and athletes makes this a unique and inspiring experience."

Does this only whet your appetite for the PDL? Don't worry, the countdown to this year's competition is on. The 2020 edition, held in the nearby city of Montreaux, runs February 2-9. In the meantime, you can get to know the 10 American competitors here.

Latest Posts


xmb photography, Courtesy The Washington Ballet

The Washington Ballet's Sarah Steele on Her At-Home Workouts

Ballet at home: Since she's not preparing for any immediate performances, Steele takes ballet barre three to four times a week. "I'm working in more of a maintenance mode," she says, prioritizing her ankles and the intrinsic muscles in her feet. "If you don't work those muscles, they disappear really quickly. I've been focusing on a baseline level of ballet muscle memory."

What she's always working on: Strengthening her glute-hamstring connection (the "under-butt" area), which provides stability for actions like repetitive relevés and power for jumps. Bridges are her go-to move for conditioning those muscles. "Those 'basic food group'–type exercises are some of the best ones," she says.

Keep reading SHOW LESS
Getty Images

Hiding Injuries: Why Downplaying Pain Can Lead to Bigger Problems Down the Road

Sabrina Landa was thrilled to be offered a traineeship with Pennsylvania Ballet. "As a trainee, everything felt like a chance to prove myself as a professional," she says. Her training hours increased and she was dancing more than she ever had before. When Landa began experiencing pain in her metatarsals partway through the 2018 Nutcracker season, she notified the staff. "But in fear of losing my shows, I downplayed the severity of it," Landa says.

She notes that no one pushed her to keep dancing but herself. "I was 18 and was aiming to receive a contract by the end of the year," she says. "I felt so much anxiety over missing an opportunity that I was afraid to be honest about my pain." Pennsylvania Ballet's artistic staff were understanding and supportive, but Landa minimized her injury for the next few months, wanting to push through until the season ended and contracts were offered. But after months of pain and an onset of extreme weakness in her foot, Landa was diagnosed with two stress fractures in her second and third metatarsals. She spent the next three months on crutches and six months off dancing to allow for the fractures' delayed healing.

Keep reading SHOW LESS
Skjalg Bøhmer Vold, Courtesy Merritt Moore

How Quantum Physicist Ballerina Merritt Moore Learned to Dance With a Robot (Plus, Her Newest Film)

When the world went into lockdown last March, most dancers despaired. But not Merritt Moore. The Los Angeles native, who lives in London and has danced with Norwegian National Ballet, English National Ballet and Boston Ballet, holds a PhD in atomic and laser physics from the University of Oxford. A few weeks into the coronavirus pandemic, she came up with a solution for having to train and work alone: robots.

Keep reading SHOW LESS

Editors' Picks