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Aspiring ballerinas The long road to Lausanne

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Lou Spichtig and Laura Fernandez-Gromova dream of becoming top dancers. Competing in the Prix de Lausanne takes them a step closer to realising their goal. (Carlo Pisani, swissinfo.ch)

The two are students at the Zurich Dance Academy, one of two professional, state-funded schools for professional dancers in Switzerland. It focuses on classical ballet and is directed by former principal ballet soloists at the German State Opera in Berlin, Oliver Matz and Steffi Scherzer. 

Spicthig and Fernandez-Gromova, both 17, qualified for the 43rd Prix de Lausanne International Ballet Competition. They were selected among 300 candidates from all over the world by a selection of both Swiss and international experts.

The Prix de Lausanne was founded in 1973 by the Swiss industrialist Philippe Braunschweig, heir to a watchmaking family, and his wife, Elvire Krémis, a dancer of Russian origin, after seeing a lack of financial support for dance students wishing to attend professional level programmes.

Winners of the contest go away with a one-year scholarship at an internationally acclaimed dance company.