Seventeen-year-old Laura Fernandez-Gromova bagged three coveted honours at the 2016 edition of the world-renowned Prix de Lausanne ballet competition. She was one of seven winners of a one-year all-expenses-paid scholarship.
Besides the scholarship, she was also joint winner of the Contemporary Dance Prize in addition to the Best Swiss Finalist award. Fernandez-Gromova has been practising ballet since the age of six, and has studied at the Zurich Dance Academy and the St Petersburg-based Vaganova Ballet Academy. Her father is from Spain and her mother is Russian-Ukrainian but Fernandez-Gromova has grown up in Switzerland.
A total of 292 candidates (235 girls and 57 boys) representing 36 countries applied in the video selection process of which 67 were invited to compete and 20 were shortlisted for the final. Besides Fernandez-Gromova, the other finalists who won scholarships were Bai Dinkai and Yu Hang from China, Junnosuke Nakamura from Japan, Leroy Mokagtle from South Africa, Vincenzo Di Primo from Italy, and Madison Young from the US.
Vincenzo Di Primo shared the Contemporary Dance Prize with Fernandez-Gromova, while Leroy Mokagtle won the Audience Favourite Prize and Kim Danbi from Korea was given the Young Hope award.
The Prix de Lausanne is an international competition for young dancers of all nationalities aged 15 to 18 who are not yet professionals. Candidates have to get through video-based preliminaries and pre-selections.
Former famous winners include Darcey Bussell, retired prima ballerina of the Royal Ballet, and Carlos Acosta, principal guest artist with the Royal Ballet.
The Zurich Dance Academy is a Prix partner school. The Swiss partner ballet companies are Béjart Ballet Lausanne, Zurich Ballet and Ballet du Grand Théâtre Geneva.