Though we haven't even gotten to The Nutcracker yet, competition season is just around the corner. Yesterday, the Prix de Lausanne announced the names of the 84 young hopefuls who will be competing in Montreaux, Switzerland next February, and the list includes 10 dancers from the U.S.
While eight candidates were pre-selected earlier this year, the majority of dancers applied via video submission and were chosen by a jury of nine dance-world professionals last week. The panel had a tall task: 377 dancers from 44 countries applied for a spot in the lineup. The 84 selected competitors hail from 26 countries including Japan, Australia, Belarus, South Africa and Cuba. Get to know the 10 U.S. dancers below, and stay tuned over the coming months for more updates on Prix de Lausanne.
Ava Arbuckle, 14, trains at Elite Classical Coaching in Frisco, TX. She's no stranger to competitions; last year she took home second place for Junior Women at the Youth America Grand Prix New York Finals and won the Grishko Model Search Contest.
Max Barker seems to have ballet in his blood. His father, Charles Barker, is American Ballet Theatre's principal conductor, and his mother, Miranda Coney, is a former principal with The Australian Ballet. Barker trains at ABT's Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School and attends New York City's Professional Performing Arts School.
Any "Dance Moms" fans out there? Keara Nichols appeared in three episodes of the hit show back in 2014. Today, Nichols dances at Academy of Ballet Arts in Murrieta, CA. Nichols is 16.
Joshua Nunamaker is a student at Orlando Molina Ballet Training Center in Suwanee, Georgia. His teacher, Orlando Molina, is known for coaching former Cincinnati Ballet principal (and comp star) Joseph Gatti. In the past few years, Nunamaker has received scholarships to summer intensives at the Harid Conservatory, Ballet West and the Bolshoi Ballet Academy in CT.
Ekaterina (Katya) Panchenko studies at Bayer Ballet Academy in Mountain View, CA. Last summer she attended the Prix de Lausanne's first-ever Summer Intensive-European Preselection in Switzerland. Panchenko also came in second at Youth America Grand Prix's San Francisco semi-finals last January.
A Texas-native, Evelyn Robinson, 18, is a student at University of North Carolina School of the Arts. This past summer, Robinson completed summer intensives at both Houston Ballet and The Royal Ballet.
This year's competition marks Eric Snyder's second time at the Prix de Lausanne. In 2018 he competed as a student at the Arizona-based Yuma Ballet Academy; now he's training at the English National Ballet School.
Like Ekaterina Panchenko, Alina Taratorin trains at the California-based Bayer Ballet Academy. Taratorin was Dance Spirit's April 2019 Cover Model Search Editors' Choice video winner, and was featured in a story we shared last August about competitiveness. Taratorin won first place at Youth America Grand Prix's San Francisco regional semi-finals in 2018, and was a gold medalist at the World Ballet Competition in 2015.
Clara Thiele, 15, is a student at the Draper Center for Dance Education in Rochester, NY. In addition to being a current Gaynor Minden Gaynor Girl, Thiele competed in Youth American Grand Prix's 2019 New York Finals, and is one of New York City Dance Alliance's 2019 Outstanding Dancers.
In training at International Ballet Academy in Kirkland, WA, Katelyn Yang spent last summer at Ellison Ballet's summer intensive. Last year, Yang placed at the Taiwan Grand Prix and Tanzolymp Berlin. She is 15.