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Artiklar från 2008 – till idag

Artiklar från 2008 – till idag

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Jason Beechey teaching classical ballet at the Palucca University of Dance Dresden. Photo Ida Zenna

28 feb
2021

 »I think the Prix de Lausanne gives a great opportunity for young dancers to get into the international dance field«

In Montreux I met with Jason Beechey director of the Palucca University of Dance Dresden, one of the prestigious schools that are associated with the Prix. Jason has also been a member of the Artistic Committee of the Prix de Lausanne since 2009. Jason presents the daily live streamed sessions that can be seen on Arte Concert TV and on the Website of Prix de Lausanne.

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Jason Beechey presenting the daily live streamed sessions from Prix de Lausanne.

What is the task of the artistic committee?
The tasks have changed over the years. When I joined the committee, we were the artistic direction for the Prix. We were a group of directors from different countries that shared everything amongst us that had to be done. We realized that we needed someone that was able to be involved all year because there is a lot of meetings with the potential sponsors and daily work to do. Amanda Bennett director of Basel Ballet School then became part time artistic director for the Prix but we were still involved to help assist to discuss about the artistic issues.

The board was handling the administrative work. After a while it became clear that the Prix wanted to change the function of the board, they wanted to find one person that could handle everything, both artistic and administrativ issues. Shelly Powell left the Houston Ballet Academy and took over the directorship after her Kathryn Bradney became the director. Before Kathryn had been involved in the juries, working with the media and the network. Nowadays my main task is to work with the live streaming and a new Artistic Committee is in place with Mavis Staines, Elisabeth Platel, Christopher Powney and Samuel Wuerstein.

For how many years has the live streaming gone on?
This is the 6th year.Before they did a blog Kathryn Bradney was filming all day to collect material to put on line.

The first year of live streaming we were sitting in a little box with a screen by the stage in Lausanne. When we were going on line there was no moderator so I was asked to comment. I was not prepared at all so I just had to improvise. Apparently it went well since I was asked to do it again.

Now we are live streaming six hours a day and we have more than a million viewers.

What impact has the live streaming had?
We have much more applicants. The candidates that come to the Prix now come up to me and tell me that they have looked at the live streaming and that they are much more aware of what the Prix is about before they come here,

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Jason Beechey teaching classical ballet at the Palucca University of Dance Dresden. Photo Ida Zenna

What other changes have you been part of during your time?
There has been a rotation of the teachers, the juries and the variations. The networking forum where the non-prize winners can be seen and invited to partner schools and companies has also developed. it is more controlled and the Prix follow up every candidate during the year of scholarship or apprenticeship that they have been offered.

There has also been a change in the selections. There are more preselections and a big change in the video selections.

I’ve been involved in the video selections for about ten years. In the beginning we came to Lausanne for a weekend. We were divided into small groups that got a pile of videos to watch. Now all nine people in the jury watches all the videos and discuss the applicants together.

At the Prix 2021 a new project was presented, a creation works competition.
Students age 14-20 all over the world had sent in a video with a two minutes creation they had done. The jury watched the contributions and selected the winners who will be able to present their solos at the Prix next year, where it will be danced by the candidates in the competition.

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Emma Sandell prize winner Prix de Lausanne 1994 and Jason Beechey presenting the daily live streamed sessions from Prix de Lausanne.

You are a permanent jury member of Youth America Grand Prix, in what way is that and other competitions different from the Prix?
Prix de Lausanne is much more about the learning process during the whole week. Normally the jury gets a chance to really know and see the candidates. This year was different, due to the pandemic the competition had to be done on line.

Youth America is a huge competition that take place in different parts of the world with about 12.000 participants yearly. From this competitions about 1000 candidates are selected to go to the finals. Compared with the Prix that had 399 applicants this year of whom 82 was selected for the Prix.

Youth America has a much bigger age range than the Prix and the competitions are done in a short time. The dancers only present a classical variation. At the Prix the dancers have to present a classical and a contemporary variation.

Youth America is changing now, we jury members get to teach the students more to get a chance to know them better. You can not assess the potential of a student from seeing only one variation.

The intentions of Youth America and the Prix are the same, to find talent get the students into good schools and to make contact.

Palucca University is a partner school in both competitions. This makes it possible to find students for the school without almost any other auditions. We have students from all over the world now.

Three years ago a new competition for young dancers started in Australia. ”The Brisbane’s International Contemporary Dance Prix ”. It was founded by Louise Deleur. It is based on the same idea as the Prix de Lausanne with one week of workshop but focused on contemporary dance. The Prix is fifty ballet and fifty contemporary nearly all the other competitions are only focusing on ballet.

I think the Prix de Lausanne is really the pioneer that has turned the competition into an amazing week of workshop for the participants. During the week the candidates work intensively in daily classes and coaching sessions with some of the most respected professionals in the dance world. Let us hope that next year will get back to normal again and that all the candidates can meet in Lausanne and experience this.

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Jason Beechey and Emma Sandell interviewing Armando Braswell, director Braswell Arts Center and contemporary teacher.

What would you say is important for the Prix in the future?
For the future I hope we will be able to keep the Prix going, that we will be able to get the contributions we need. The Prix is on a good way having a huge importance on healthy training a good support system and taking really good care about the candidates.

Usually all the school directors are at the Prix and that give us a great opportunity to meet and talk, to discuss and exchange experiences.It can also set an example for what company directors are looking for.

I hope the Prix will continue to be progressive and a good example of how a competition can be and to open up possibilities for young dancers.

There are so much dance in the media today which is great. Dance is so present but a lot of it is very acrobatic commercial. What I hope for the Prix is that we can continue to keep a really high artistic line.

Margareta Lidström
Stockholm/Montreux


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