Two Japanese Awarded in Prix de Lausanne
It was in three years in a row that Japanese contestants won in Prix de Lausanne, the best known of gateways to success for ballet dancers in age brackets of 15-18.
This year's Prix de Lausanne had 67 contestants from 17 countries competing for the awards, and 20 including 4 Japanese were screened out for the final judgement on February 4 in both classical and contemporary sections.
Taisuke Nakao,17, from Matsuyama, Ehime, of Germany's Mannheim Ballet Academy performed a part of Swan Lake in the classical sector. He demonstrated his uniquely relaxed, brilliant style of dancing to win the third place - the highest ever for the Japanese.
A junior high school 3rd grader Koyo Yamamoto, 15, danced La Fille mal gardée so gracefully away to win the fourth place.
Prix de Lausanne, now in its 45th year since its founding, is regularly participated by Japanese contestants with high scores each year. Three Japanese hopefuls have won in the past three years - Tetsuya Kumakawa in 1989, Madoka Sugai in 2012 and Haruo Niyama in 2014. Japan has thus won Prix de Lausanne for 12 consecutive years.
The winners, including the grand prix winners, are offered either one full year study, free of tuition, at an eminent ballet school or one-year membership as trainee of an eminent ballet troupe - on 1.8 million-yen scholarship.
Taisuke Nakao, the 3rd place award winner, told NHK in an interview:
"I still can't believe it - I almost blacked out the moment I learned of the result. I had always thought of it as a dream world - a world a dimension above my own.
"Awarded the third place, I'm only happy. I pledge my very best to grow up to be a dancer worthy of the award."
The 4-th place winner Koyo Yamamoto said he was fortunate to have the chance to dance in Prix de Lausanne and hoped to spend the scholarship to study at a ballet academy in Europe. (Nathan Shiga)