16 Feb 2017
I have been back in school for a week now. Even though my days are full of dance training, work, and academic classes, I have been thinking about the competition every day. I cannot get certain moments and people out of my head, but how could you, surrounded by such committed practitioners who share the same love for the art form? With some time to also digest my experience at the Prix, I have developed a different perception of what a competition can provide for emerging and established artists.
“At this competition we are all on an even plane field…everyone has their attributes that they are really good at (…) and I think that you all learn from each other. It is almost like a workshop (…), not so much a dance competition” – Jack Joshua Price, finalist candidate from Australia.
Similarly, the president of this year´s jury, Kevin O`Hare, said that the Prix has more of a festival feeling. Even though there is a lot of people involved, “the focus is always on the student, and that is the most important thing”, he said.
Inspirationally enough, the Prix can not only function as a workshop, but can also fulfill childhood dreams and can be utilized as an educational tool to aid dancers in their careers. Below are some testimonies regarding these aspects.
“I have always watched the competition (…) all the video blogs, all the performances, and I was always imagining (…) what a nice experience it must be”, prize winner Marina Fernandes da Costa Duarte said. Encouraged by the director of Princess Grace Academy in Monaco to apply for the Prix was a big thing for her since it made her dreams finally come true. Finalist candidate Joshua Jack Price also had always aspired to come to this competition.“Ever since I was young, I have always watched the competition and hoped that I one day could be doing what they were doing at my age, and I can’t believe it has happened”, he shared. Since many of the dancers in the past have done such amazing things after this competition, he expressed that “it’s really bizarre to think that you have trained all your life to get to these kinds of opportunities, it is almost surreal”.
Fortunately, with the support from the city of Lausanne, the Prix has been able to continue to provide opportunities for young dancers, which the president of the board Stéphane Lagonico expressed gratitude for. Through such a wide range of dance experiences during the week, I saw how the competition influenced students to become more generous and committed in their technique and artistry. Learning outcomes were a vital part, which the new CEO and Artistic Director, Shelly Power clearly emphasized will continue to be a main focus. At the press conference on the day of the finals, she also spoke about the responsibility of education. Since the Prix is no longer one out of two competitions in the world as 45 years ago, “the most important thing is [to educate] all of these different countries on what is so unique about the Prix de Lausanne”. In addition, because there are to her knowledge, “no competitions that are as fully invested in bringing candidates (…) and offering not only the coaching, but the class work, the facilities, the jury, and the networking”, it is the Prix´s job to promote such a complete package. “The competition is one thing but what they are actually learning and becoming educated in is really another very very important part of all of this, and so I think that we will see some shift over the years, we will have to wait and see”, she said.
I am looking forward to how the Prix will expand and contribute to the wide range of education and experiences required of young aspiring artists today