Ballet stars of the future found at Lausanne

Mai Kono, from Japan, was a prize winner and was voted audience favourite (Shunki Ogawa) Shunki Ogawa

The Prix de Lausanne, Switzerland's prestigious dance competition which aims to spot potential ballet stars, has announced its six winners.

This content was published on February 4, 2007 - 18:49

The top prize was awarded to the South Korean dancer, Sae-eun Park, followed by the Japanese Mai Kono and another South Korean, Chaelee Kim.

Other winners were James Hay from Britain, Telmo Moreira from Portugal and Delia Mathews, also from Britain.

The four girls and two boys each won a one-year scholarship to an internationally renowned dance school or company.

Charles-Louis Yoshiyama from Japan won the prize for contemporary dance, and Mai Kono also received the audience favourite prize.

In all, twelve dancers – seven boys and five girls – made it to Sunday's final at the Beaulieu Theatre in the western Swiss city of Lausanne. It was attended by the Swiss president, Micheline Calmy-Rey.

The contestants, aged between 15 and 18 years old, had to dance three variations – two classical and one contemporary - before a panel of judges and a packed theatre audience.

All finalists who did not get a prize received SFr1,000 ($800).

As in previous years the final was dominated by Asian countries, with Japan, China and South Korea all fielding two candidates each. Britain also fared well with one girl and one boy in the last round.

The other countries represented were Portugal, Spain and Belarus.

35th anniversary

In all, 42 girls and 19 boys started the competition, which is celebrating its 35th anniversary this year. There were no Swiss participants this year.

They were not only competing through the quarter- and semifinals, but were also judged in classes and training.

The prix is looking for potential rather than technical achievement, which the organisers say make it different from other competitions.

The policy seems to work - over the past 35 years the Prix has had an impressive track record, counting the London Royal Ballet's Alina Cojocaru and Carlos Acosta among its past winners.

However, the organisers say that all participants gain something from the competition, benefiting from coaching and jury feedback.

swissinfo with agencies

In brief

The Prix de Lausanne was set up in 1973 by Philippe and Elvire Braunschweig as a competition for young dancers.

In 1998 it changed direction, giving more weight to contemporary dance and the pedagogical aspect of the competition.

Candidates now have to present three dances – two classical and one contemporary by Czech choreographer Jiří Kylian.

Health is also important, with the competition stressing the benefits of healthy eating and dancers looking after their bodies.

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Key facts

Chaelee Kim, South Korea
Delia Mathews, Britain
Sae-eun Park, South Korea
Mai Kono, Japan

Telmo Moreira, Portugal
James Hay, Britain

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