The eight 2020 Prix de Lausanne prize winners. Rodrigo Buas, Courtesy PdL.

Congratulations to the 2020 Prix de Lausanne Winners!

The 2020 Prix de Lausanne has officially come to a close after a thrilling week of classes, coaching sessions, competition performances and networking forums. The annual competition, which was live streamed around the world and watched over 1.1 million times, gave 77 dancers an opportunity to perform and take class in front of an international panel of judges. In addition to a classical variation, candidates had to master a contemporary solo by Mauro Bigonzetti, Jean-Christophe Maillot, Cathy Marston, Wayne McGregor, Heinz Spoerli or Richard Wherlock.


Twenty-one dancers advanced to Saturday's finals (click here to watch them in full), where eight were awarded a scholarship to a Prix de Lausanne partner school or company of their choice. One finalist from the United States, Ava Arbuckle, was among the winners. The Prix also presented five other additional awards, and all finalists who did not receive a scholarship received the Finalist Award for the sum of 1000 Swiss Francs. Read on for the list of prize winners, and congratulations to all!

Marco Masciari

Italian dancer Marco Masciari, who also won the Prix's Contemporary Prize, is a 17-year-old student at the Academie Princess Grace in Monaco. Not only is he a beautiful dancer, he's also a big-hearted: In his acceptance speech, Masciari dedicated his prize to his Academie Princess Grace classmate and fellow Prix de Lausanne candidate, Kotomi Yamada. She had broken her toe the day before the semi-finals and was not able to finish the competition. "God knows how much she has been working and wanted to perform. So, Kotomi, that's for us," Masciari said, pointing to his medal.

Ava Arbuckle

Ava Arbuckle trains at Elite Classical Coaching in Frisco, Texas, directed by Catherine Livengood Lewellen. She not only won a scholarship to a Prix de Lausanne partner school, but she also received the Best Young Talent prize. While only 15, Arbuckle has amassed an impressive resumé, including second place in the junior category at Youth America Grand Prix's 2019 New York Finals and two gold medals (in both the classical and contemporary junior categories) at the 2019 American Dance Competition. She was also named Grishko's 2019 Model Search winner. We can't wait to see where she ends up!

João Vitor Santana

Seventeen-year-old João Vitor Santana is one of two finalists who train at Brazil's Itego em Artes Basilieu França. According to the publication RFi, he has only been taking ballet since age 13. Watching his classical variation from Paquita above, it's obvious that those have been four years well spent!

Lin Zhang

Lin Zhang, 17, trains at the Secondary School of Beijing Dance Academy in China. (Her classmate, Yuyan Wang, also made the Prix de Lausanne finals). She performed the Giselle Act I variation and Mauro Bigonzetti's Solo de Rossini Cards for her contemporary selection. Zhang was also a semi-finalist at the 2020 YAGP China and has been invited to participate in the New York City Finals in April.

Chaeyeon Kang

Chaeyeon Kang attends the Yewon School in Seoul, South Korea, the same school that produced Washington Ballet's EunWon Lee. Kang is only 15, yet she performed her Paquita variation with polished precision, clean pirouettes and buoyant jumps, showing confidence beyond her years,

Matei Holeleu

Matei Holeleu was one of four pre-selected candidates chosen from Prix de Lausanne's first summer intensive, held last July. The 18-year-old dancer, who hails from Romania, currently trains at Switzerland's Ballettschule Theater Basel. Holeleu also won the Prix's Best Swiss Candidate Prize.

Augusto Vitor Vaz

A native of Brazil, Augusto Vitor Vaz, 15, also trains at Itego em Atres Basileu França. According to the publication RFi, he gave up judo lessons for ballet at age nine after his instructor told him he had more of a dancer's physique. "My mother said, if this is what you want in your life, this is what you'll have," he told RFi.

Yuyan Wang

Seventeen-year-old Yuyan Wang more than impressed the judges. In addition to winning a scholarship, the Beijing Dance Academy student was awarded the Web Audience Favorite Prize, given to the dancer who received the most votes from those watching the finals via live stream. Watching her Gamzatti variation above, it's easy to see why!

Other Prizes

Carolina Pires does a piqu\u00e9 first arabesque on pointe on her left leg. She smiles brightly, wearing a white tutu with black and red trim, pink tights and pointe shoes. Her dark brown hair is pulled into a low bun.

Carolina Pires, winner of the Audience Favorite Prize.

Gregory Batardon, Courtesy PdL

Best Young Talent Prize: Ava Arbuckle

Contemporary Dance Prize: Marco Masciari

Best Swiss Candidate: Matei Holeleu

Web Audience Favorite (co-organized with ARTE Concert): Yuyan Wang

Audience Favorite: Catarina Pires

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Last summer many intensives were canceled or online-only. And the past school year has been spotty and strange for many, as well. All the more reason to look forward to an in-person summer program this year with excitement—but also, perhaps, some nerves. Take heart, says Simon Ball, men's program coordinator at Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet. "Once you get there the first day, all those fears will be relieved."

Here, Ball and two other experts share their advice for how to make the most of this precious opportunity to dive deep into dance—and how to handle complications that may get in the way, like injury and drama.

1. Show Off...Your Work Ethic

Summer intensives offer a preview of company life: You'll be dancing in a variety of styles over the course of the day, and all day, everyday. But that doesn't mean you have to be company-ready on day one! Though the first day may be filled with placement classes, try not to approach every class as an audition. "This year has taught us that the work is the important thing," says Ball. "Let go of trying to impress. The best impression I ever receive as a teacher is when I see someone receptive to doing things differently, even if that means taking one step backwards initially, to be able to take two steps forward by the end of the summer."

Angelica Generosa, a principal with Pacific Northwest Ballet, clearly made a splash during her first of three summers at the Chautauqua Institution's School of Dance. At 14, she was cast to dance the pas de deux from Balanchine's Stars and Stripes in the final performance. Generosa describes her younger self as "very eager." She'll be a guest teacher at Chautauqua this summer, and says that a similar eagerness catches her attention: "Dedication, and willingness to try. That twinkle in the eyes when a step is really challenging."

2. Make Friends

Even if friends from your year-round school will be with you this summer, branch out. During breaks at the studio, you may be tempted to spend time on your phone. "Take your headphones off," suggests Margaret Severin-Hansen, director of Carolina Ballet's summer intensive. "Share that ballet video with the person sitting next to you! Their eyes might see it differently; you could learn something. Or find that you have other things in common, too."

Do things outside the studio, too, even if your social circle is limited for safety reasons to a "pod" of classmates. "Sign up for activities," says Generosa. Go on that weekend shopping trip, or out for ice cream. "Be open," she says. "These are people you might see along the way in your future."

Simon Ballet, wearing dark clothing, is shown from behind demonstrating ecart\u00e9 arms while in front of him, a class of teenage ballet students perform d\u00e9velopp\u00e9 ecart\u00e9 devant on pointe in a medium-size studio. The dancers, all girls, wear leotards, pink tights and pointe shoes.

Simon Ball leads class at Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet.

Courtesy CPYB

3. Stay Healthy

"The first week is tough—you're going to be sore," says Ball. "Prepare yourself." He means that literally. Before your program begins, ramp up cross-training, especially cardio to build your stamina. Severin-Hansen recommends you also keep dancing. It no longer matters that your regular school might be on break: We now know it's possible to take virtual classes from home or in a rented studio. If you're on pointe, make sure to put the shoes on every day, at the very least for some relevés. Keep the skin on your toes tough; the last thing you want is to be sidelined by blisters.

If you are recovering from an injury or managing something persistent like tendonitis, take action even further in advance. Find out if your intensive provides access to physical therapy, and if not, make a plan before you leave home. Learn exercises and massage techniques that you can do on your own, and ask about virtually checking in with your regular doctor or PT. Once you arrive, says Ball, communicate with your instructors. "Chances are it's a common ballet injury that teachers understand. They'll be able to help you."

During her summer intensives, Generosa often suffered flare-ups of inflammation. "I knew the tendonitis in my knees was from over turning out, and in my ankles from lifting my heels in plié." She was able to alleviate some of her pain by dancing more thoughtfully, addressing those habits. She also got creative about taking care of her tendons during off-hours. "I basically did ice baths in Chautauqua Lake."

4. Deal With Disappointment Constructively

Whether you're placed in a lower level than you'd like or were hoping for a soloist role that went to someone else, disappointment is understandable. Try, on your part, to understand too. The faculty may believe you'll thrive more in that particular group, or see a technical issue better solved by not pushing you too fast. If you're not sure exactly what you should be working on, ask. "Trust that you can make the most of your experience, whatever level you're in," says Ball. "Don't be afraid of the conversation."

5. Avoid Drama

Competition is inevitable, but unproductive competition is unnecessary, and bullying unacceptable. Severin-Hansen lays down a very clear guideline: "Nobody should ever feel uncomfortable." If you hear or see anything that bothers you—whether directed at you or someone else—don't hesitate to speak up. "If there's even one person creating drama, you feel it in the class. Summer is short. There's no room for that." Tell the resident advisor in the dorms, or bring the problem to the school administration.

Angelica Generosa performs an arabessque elong\u00e9 on pointe while her partner stands behind her holding her waist and with his left leg in tendu. She holds her left hand on her hip and extends her right arm out to the side with her palm up. Angelica wears a purple leotard, black tights and a white Romantic tutu while Kyle wears a yellow shirt, black tights and tan slippers.

Pacific Northwest Ballet principal Angelica Generosa (shown here in rehearsal with Kyle Davis) made notes of corrections she'd received and variations she'd worked on during her summer intensives to help retain what she had learned.

Lindsay Thomas, Courtesy PNB

6. Fuel the Long Day

Depending on your housing arrangement this summer, you may be on your own for buying or preparing your own meals. Generosa recalls her first time living in a dorm and eating cafeteria food: "I wanted to try everything: pizza, chicken tenders, the salad bar, the dessert section—that was also my introduction to coffee." She found, however, that caffeine and sugar rushes would give way to energy crashes, and soon enough her better knowledge prevailed. "I told myself, 'Angelica, get your protein, vegetables, complex carbs—the right kind of energy.'"

Masking requirements may make snacking at the studios slightly more difficult. Nonetheless, there will almost certainly be somewhere you can safely have a nibble in between classes, whether that's a dancers' lounge or socially distanced in the studio itself. Make sure you always have something with you that's easy to munch on during breaks. Ball recommends protein bars or fruits and veggies. "Hydrating is huge," he adds, and suggests bringing packets of powdered electrolyte supplements to add to your water.

7. Retain Corrections

Take a moment each evening, Severin-Hansen advises, to write a few things down. "Say the whole class got a general correction, like 'Use your head.' The person who takes notes will think about it: 'When could I have used my head?' It's all about how you come back the next day and improve."

Generosa set a goal for herself to get better every day. To accomplish this, she would stay late to practice, she says, "so my body could adjust to what I was trying to achieve in that class." If you're inclined to follow her example, ask a friend to practice with you. You can film each other to get a glimpse of your own progress.

At the end of her Chautauqua summers, Generosa made notes of some things she had worked on and which variations she'd learned. "Then it wasn't like I left and that was that. I brought the summer experience with me, for my whole year."

Michael Cousmano, AKA Madame Olga. Courtesy When I'm Her

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