This week all eyes at Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre are on two students, Aviana Adams, 15, and Anwen David, 16, who are competing at the prestigious Prix de Lausanne (pree deh la-ZAWN). This international Swiss competition and educational workshop was designed for pre-professional dancers ages 15 to 18.
Out of 205 candidates representing 31 countries, 82 dancers were selected to attend the 2011 festivities in Lausanne scheduled to run Feb. 1 through 6. There are eight female contestants from the U.S. and PBT is the only sponsor with more than one female participant.
The company gave the two dancers a send-off last Thursday, where they could showcase their talents at the PBT studios in front of family and friends. In his introduction, artistic director Terrence Orr called the Prix “the creme de la creme of all competitions. We’re so proud of the school and our students. They’ll be working with directors and coaches, who will see how much they learn and adapt.”
The students could choose one each from the Prix list of classical variations and contemporary solos. PBT school director Marjorie Grundvig explained the students’ ultimate selections.
Aviana picked the second variation from the Kingdom of the Shades’ pas de trois from in “La Bayadere,” which played up her impeccable lines. Anwen chose a “Coppelia” variation from the first act, which also showed off some of her acting skills to go along with a naturally exuberant technique.
According to Marjorie, Aviana’s contemporary variation, “Caliban,” was by Cathy Marston and involved a” lot of difficult floor work.” It can be performed by both the girls and the boys. Anwen picked “a slightly more playful one” called “Traces,” by the same choreographer.
During the course of the week, the two will take classes with the 15-16 year old age group. They will also be coached in their variations, and in the case of the contemporary solo, by Cathy Marston herself. A panel of judges will observe their progress.
All of the contestants will perform on Saturday and then the finalists will be announced. The finals will take place Sunday, Feb. 6 at 3 p.m. CET, which is 9 a.m. Pittsburgh time and will be streamed live.
Said Aviana, “Getting this far is amazing and I’m still in shock. Everything from now on is icing on the cake. Anwen looked forward to the future in noting, “Hopefully we’ll have a great time and learn a lot.”
That goes without saying…
Check the nifty Prix de Lausanne website, chock full of more information at http://www.prixdelausanne-live.com. Certain candidates will be spotlighted throughout the week on http://videoblog.prixdelausanne.org, which will be updated daily.
Prix de Lausanne Artistic Committee member and rector of the Palucca Schule Dresden Jason Beechey will tweet about the experience at http://twitter.com/jasonbeechey.
For the Prix scene through Aviana’s eyes, check her tweets at http://twitter.com/aviana71
More to come…