Rodrigo Buas, Courtesy PdL

The Prix de Lausanne Just Announced Its 2020 Finalists

If you're like us, you've been watching the Prix de Lausanne live stream all week. And chances are, you've picked out a few favorites among the 77 competitors. Today the judges chose 21 dancers to advance to tomorrow's finals. From this group, seven will receive a scholarship and have the chance to choose among the world's most prestigious academies and companies.

Check out the 21 finalists below—three are from the U.S. And catch the finals' live stream tomorrow, February 8, on ARTE Concert, YouTube, Facebook, the Prix de Lausanne website and on Dance Australia starting at 2:30 pm in Switzerland (that's 8:30 am EST/5:30 am PST).


Ava Arbuckle, #102

Ava Arbuckle

Gregory Batardon, Courtesy PdL

Country: USA

Age: 15

Zeyu Wang, #108

Zeyu Wang

Rodrigo Buas, Courtesy PdL

Country: China

Age: 15

Soo Min Kim, #109

Soo Min Kim

Rodrigo Buas, Courtesy PdL

Country: South Korea

Age: 15

Chaeyeon Kang, #112

Chaeyon Kang

Rodrigo Buas, Courtesy PdL

Country: South Korea

Age: 15

Milda Luckute, #113

Milda Luckute

Rodrigo Buas, Courtesy PdL

Country: Lithuania

Age: 15

Sophie Beatty, #118

Sophie Beatty

Gregory Batardon, Courtesy PdL

Country: Australia

Age: 16

Kaito Matsuoka, #201

Kaito Matsuoka

Gregory Batardon, Courtesy PdL

Country: Japan

Age: 15

Vitor Augusto Vaz, #203

Vitor Augusto Vaz

Gregory Batardon, Courtesy PdL

Country: Brazil

Age: 15

Max Barker, #204

Max Barker

Rodrigo Buas, Courtesy PdL

Country: United States

Age: 15

Jackson Smith-Leishman, #206

Jackson Smith-Leishman

Gregory Batardon, Courtesy PdL

Country: Australia

Age: 15

Chun Hung Yan, #207

Chun Hung Yan

Gregory Batardon, Courtesy PdL

Country: Hong Kong, China

Age: 15

Austen McDonald, #209

Austen McDonald

Gregory Batardon, Courtesy PdL

Country: Australia

Age: 16

Yue Zhou, #306

Yue Zhou

Gregory Batardon, Courtesy PdL

Country: China

Age: 17

Lin Zhang, #307

Lin Zhang

Gregory Batardon, Courtesy PdL

Country: China

Age: 17

Yuyan Wang, #312

Yuyan Wang

Gregory Batardon, Courtesy PdL

Country: China

Age: 17

Catarina Pires, #316

Catarina Pires

Rodrigo Buas, Courtesy PdL

Country: Portugal

Age: 17

Evelyn Robinson, #323

Evelyn Robinson

Gregory Batardon, Courtesy PdL

Country: United States

Age: 18

Xuetong Wang, #325

Xuetong Wang

Gregory Batardon, Courtesy PdL

Country: China

Age: 18

Marco Masciari, #406

Marco Masciari

Gregory Batardon, Courtesy PdL

Country: Italy

Age: 17

João Vitor Santana, #407

João Vitor Santana

Gregory Batardon, Courtesy PdL

Country: Brazil

Age: 17

Matei Holeleu, #421

Matei Holeleu

Rodrigo Buas, Courtesy PdL

Country: Romania

Age: 18

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The author, Lucy Van Cleef, dancing Balanchine's Serenade at Los Angeles Ballet. Reed Hutchinson, Courtesy Los Angeles Ballet

My 12-Year Journey to a Bachelor’s Degree While Dancing Professionally

If you'd have told me in 2009 that it would take 12 years to earn my bachelor's degree, I never would have believed you. Back then, I was a dancer in my early 20s and in my second year with Los Angeles Ballet. I was used to the straightforward demands of the professional ballet world. I knew that hard work and willpower were the currency you paid in the studio, and that the thrill of live performance made all that investment worth it. What I didn't know then is how life's twists and turns aren't always so straightforward. In hindsight, I can see how my winding road to higher education has strengthened me—and my relationship with the ballet world—more than I ever could have imagined.

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After 25 Years, Victoria Morgan to Step Down as Cincinnati Ballet's Artistic Director

Last month, Victoria Morgan announced that she will step down as Cincinnati Ballet's artistic director at the conclusion of the 2021-22 season. The organization's board of trustees has formed a committee to conduct a national search for her replacement.

Prior to coming to Cincinnati Ballet in 1997, the Salt Lake City native was a principal dancer with San Francisco Ballet and Ballet West, as well as resident choreographer for the San Francisco Opera. She graduated magna cum laude from University of Utah, where she also earned her MFA, and has judged several international ballet competitions.

Entering her 25th and final season as director, Morgan has accomplished a lot at Cincinnati Ballet, not the least erasing the $800,000 in company debt she inherited at the outset of her tenure. To right the organization's financial ship she had to make tough choices early on—the first task the company's executive committee gave her was to release a third of the company's dancers. In her continuing effort to overhaul how the organization did business, in 2008 she became both the artistic director and CEO and set about building the company's now $14.5 million endowment. For the 2016–17 season, with the arrival of new company president and CEO Scott Altman, Morgan returned to being full-time artistic director and helped lead the realization of the organization's new $31 million home, the Margaret and Michael Valentine Center for Dance.

A champion of female choreographers, Morgan has also choreographed numerous ballets for the company, including world premieres of King Arthur's Camelot and The Nutcracker. She has also helped orchestrate several company collaborations, including 2013's Frampton and Cincinnati Ballet Live and joint productions with BalletMet.

Pointe caught up with Morgan to talk about her recent announcement.

Victoria Morgan is shown from the side standing on stage right, turning to smile at a line of costumed dancers to her left during bows. She wears a patterned green dress with chunky green high heels and holds a red rose in her hand.

Peter Mueller, Courtesy Cincinnati Ballet

Why leave Cincinnati Ballet now?

It's been an amazing run and I have seen it all. I am not sure where I would go from here. I also feel there is a required stimulus and infusion of new ideas and energy that always needs to be a part of a growing, evolving and exciting arts organization.

What made you happiest at Cincinnati Ballet?

The people, from the devotion of patrons and donors to learning from and feeling the pride in work from the staff. It has also been so satisfying for me to choreograph on and watch so many dancers evolve in their dance careers and lives.

Were there things you wanted to do for the company that you weren't able to?

There were other collaborations I wanted us to explore and choreographers I wanted us to work with. It takes quite an investment to make those happen.

Your legacy includes actively creating opportunities for female choreographers. What motivated that?

I started realizing, in a profound way, the gender inequities in our art form. Because I was in a leadership position, I thought I could do something about this and try to get to a 50-50 balance of male and female choreographers. It took a little time to find women to step forward, but it happened. Now there are many more prominent female choreographers, including our resident choreographer Jennifer Archibald, and I am proud of that.

If you could handpick your successor, what qualities would you look for?

Somebody creative, charged up, and who can be visionary. Someone who has had a high-level experience in our art form. A leader who is demanding but also kind and supportive, and who opens doors to find new ideas while still embracing Cincinnati Ballet's philosophies.

What do you feel will be one of the biggest challenges for the new artistic director?

The important cause of DEIA (diversity, equity, inclusion, accessibility). Whoever steps into that position has to have awareness of the culture of today's conversation.

Do you plan to keep choreographing?

I am not being proactive about it, but if the opportunity presents itself, it would be fun.

What's next?

I feel my next calling is bringing movement to the biggest segment of our population, baby boomers. I want to be part of an initiative that makes moving and wellness enjoyable and enlivens people.

Carla Fracci in Romeo and Juliet, 1968. Erio Piccagliani, Courtesy La Scala Ballet

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