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Lauren Hunter, here at the Prix de Lausanne, also placed at YAGP. Photo by Gregory Batardon.

The Youth America Grand Prix has a knack for finding ballet's big names of tomorrow, and the latest crop of potential stars has arrived. At the end of last week, the winners of YAGP's New York City finals were announced with many dancers taking home scholarships to schools worldwide.

If you follow the competition circuit, you may be familiar with several of these names, but Pointe readers will definitely recognize Lauren Hunter, who came in third place for females in the senior age division. That's an impressive feat for any young dancer, but it's not the first prize Hunter has taken home this year. In our current April/May issue, we followed her throughout her journey at the Prix de Lausanne in Switzerland, where she advanced to the final round. (Spoiler alert: She won fifth place and a scholarship to The Royal Ballet School.)

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Ballet Training
Photo by Gregory Bartadon, Courtesy Prix de Lausanne.

Lauren Hunter stands with her feet tightly crossed in fifth position, the number 102 pinned to the front of her leotard. The 15-year-old California native, who trains at Peninsula School of Performing Arts, is a long way from home, but she's one step closer to achieving her dream of dancing professionally. Around her are dancers from Asia, Australia, South America and Europe, all candidates for the Prix de Lausanne, an international scholarship competition held each January in Switzerland. For the next week, a nine-member jury will carefully evaluate them during classes, coaching sessions and performances for a chance to win scholarships to major ballet schools. “I thought it would be a good time for me to open my horizons, to meet new people and see what the professional world is really like," she says.

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What a week it’s been! Yesterday, the 20 Prix de Lausanne finalists took the stage for a final chance to win scholarships and apprentice contracts with some of the world’s major ballet institutions. Throughout the week, I’ve had the privilege of observing all 67 talented dancers in classes and onstage, and there’s no way I would have been able to make a decision. The talent and determination from these budding young artists is unprecedented. To quote Hamburg Ballet artistic director John Neumeier, who received a Lifetime Achievement Award at last night's awards ceremony, “There are no firsts or seconds in human beings.”

Nevertheless, eight dancers won a scholarship to enter one of the 68 Prix de Lausanne partner schools and companies of their choice.

They are, in order of ranking:

  1. Michele Esposito, 17, Italy

Gregory Batardon, Courtesy PdL.

 

2. Marina Fernandes de Costa Duarte, 17, Brazil

Gregory Batardon, Courtesy PdL.

 

3. Taisuke Nakao, 17, Japan

Photo by Gregory Batardon, Courtsy PdL.

 

4. Koyo Yamamoto, 15, Japan

Gregory Batardon, Courtesy PdL.

 

5. Lauren Hunter, 15, USA

Photo by Gregory Batardon, Courtesy PdL.

 

6. Stanislaw Wegrzyn, 18, Poland

Gregory Batardon, Courtesy PdL.

 

7. Diana Georgia Ionescu, 16, Romania

Gregory Batardon, Courtesy PdL.

 

8. Sunu Lim, 17, South Korea

Gregory Batardon, Courtesy PdL.

 

In addition, four other awards were given out:

Denilson Almeida. Gregory Batardon, Courtesy PdL.

Contemporary Dance Prize: Michele Esposito, Italy

Audience Favorite Award: Marina Fernandes de Costa Duarte, Brazil

Rudolf Nureyev Foundation Artistic Award: Denilson Almeida, 16, Brazil

Best Swiss Candidate Prize: Michele Esposito of Italy (a student at Tanz Akademie Zurich, in Switzerland)

 

Over the next month, the winners will work with the Prix de Lausanne to determine which school or company will be the best fit, with their decisions listed on the website.

The Prix's networking forum allows non-finalists, as well as those finalists who didn't receive a scholarship, to be considered by partner schools' teachers and directors. Those results will also be posted to the website later in the year. Congratulations to all!

For more news on all things ballet, don't miss a single issue.

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After a long day of classical and contemporary performances, 67 candidates for this year’s Prix de Lausanne were whittled down to 20 finalists, including one American: 15-year-old Lauren Hunter. Dancers from Asia (Japan, South Korea and China) dominate the list, but there are also finalists from Australia, Brazil and various countries in Europe.

Here’s a rundown of who will be performing at the finals tomorrow:

Lauren Hunter. Photo by R. Buas, Courtesy Prix de Lausanne.

Girls, 15-16 years old

Lauren Hunter, 15, USA (Peninsula School of Performing Arts)

Yuika Fujimoto, 15, Japan (Koike Ballet Studio)

Jessi Seymour, 15, Australia (Alegria School of Ballet)

Sunmin Lee, 16, South Korea (Seoul Arts High School)

Rafaela Henrique, 16, Brazil (Especial Academia de Ballet)

Diana Georgia Ionescu, 16, Romania (Tanz Akademie Zurich)

 

Boys, 15-16 years old

Koyo Yamamoto, 15, Japan (Acri Horimoto Ballet Academy)

Edoardo Sartori, 16, Italy (Academia Veneta di Danza e Balletto)

Denilson Almeida, 16, Brazil (Petite Danse School of Dance)

Joshua Jack Price, 16, Australia (Amanda Bollinger Dance Academy & The Dance Centre)

Jingkun Xu, 16, China (Shanghai Dance School)

Alessandro Frola, 16, Italy (Professione Danza Parma)

 

Girls, 17-18 years old

Ji Min Kwon, 17, South Korea (Seoul Arts High School)

Marina Fernandes da Costa Duarte, 17, Brazil (Académie Princess Grace)

Fangqi Li, 18, China (The Secondary Dance School of Beijing Dance Academy)

 

Boys, 17-18 years old

Sunu Lim, 17, South Korea (Sunhwa Arts High School)

Michele Esposito, 17, Italy (Tanz Akademie Zurich)

Taisuki Nakao, 17, Japan (Akademie des Tanzes)

Riku Ota, 18, Japan (John Cranko Schule)

Stanislaw Wegrzyn, 18, Poland (Ballett-Akademie Hochschule für Musik und Theater München)

 

Tune in to Prix de Lausanne’s website for a live stream of the finals Saturday, February 4, from 8am‑noon.

 

For more news on all things ballet, don’t miss asingle issue.

News

Set your alarms! For the third year in a row, Prix de Lausanne, the prestigious international ballet competition held annually in Lausanne, Switzerland, will be live-streamed. More than 70 young dancers, ages 15 to 18, have been chosen through a careful video selection process; 17 countries will be represented in total. The live-stream will go inside candidates' practice sessions, as well as their classes and coaching sessions. Catch interviews with dancers, teachers, choreographers and jury members, and, of course, the finals on February 4.

Madison Young, second prize winner of the 2016 Prix de Lausanne. Photo by Gregory Batardon, via Instagram.

For those of you unable to watch (it is, after all, a six to nine hour time difference depending on your time zone), recorded live sessions will be available on ARTE Concert and YouTube the next day. Oh, and if you look closely, you may even see me! I’ll be attending the Prix to moderate three Daily Dance Dialogues, and to update you on how things are going.

Five American dancers will be among the candidates: Caroline Perry, 16, and Andrew Vesceri, 17, from the Houston Ballet Academy; Lauren Hunter, 15, from Peninsula School of the Performing Arts in Torrance, California; Bret Coppa, 17, from University of North Carolina School of the Arts; and Max Follmer, 17, from the School of Richmond Ballet. Tune in to the Prix de Lausanne YouTube channel to watch them live at the times listed below. (Hours are yet to be confirmed, so check the website for updates.)

Monday (1/30): 9–10:30 am EST

Tuesday (1/31): 9­–10:30 am EST

Wednesday (2/1): 9–10:30 am EST

Thursday (2/2): 9–10:30 am EST

Friday (2/3)—Selections: 3:30–6:15 am EST (15–16 year olds)

8 am–11:30 am EST (17–18 year olds)

Saturday (2/4)—Finals: 8:30 am–12 pm

 

For more news on all things ballet, don’t miss a single issue.

 

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