The president of the jury, Frédéric Olivieri, Ballet Director, Teatro alla Scala Milan and former Principal Dancer, Les Ballets de Monte Carlo spoke to Harlequin Floors:
“The Prix de Lausanne is first and foremost about quality. Quality of the performance of the competitors, quality and diversity of the members of the jury and of course, not to be overlooked, quality of the organisation and logistics.
But above all, and this undoubtedly is the most important, it is one of the only Awards that truly opens doors.
The whole of the profession is here in Lausanne, so for a dancer, participating in the Prize is already being noticed. This is why there are ultimately no losers in Lausanne. Having the opportunity to attend is already winning.
Personally, I was lucky to win the Prize in 1977, when I was a very young 16-year-old dancer and Lausanne changed my life since it allowed me to enter the Opera Ballet of Paris when I was only a little dancer from Nice!
The evolution of the repertoire is most striking. Young choreographers are commissioned to create the compulsory contemporary variations. Present in Lausanne during the week of the competition, they support candidates who tackle – often for the first time – the characteristics of movement and body specific to this discipline. Suddenly, they learn to adapt to the personal language of each choreographer. Thanks to these contemporary variations specifically adapted to their age, young artists are confronted with new sensations which will help them to develop their ability to react to music with imagination and sensitivity and to reveal their personality through the expression of their emotions.
A good dancer must obviously have an irreproachable technical base. But what really makes the difference is the virtuosity and musicality, the ability to deeply appropriate a repertoire, a style. Then, there is what cannot be learned; the artistic aura, the charisma. Some dancers only take two steps when entering the stage and can catch your breath.
When you are on the jury, there is something magical about this expectation of seeing new talents emerge. It is truly a joy for everyone. Then, it is always necessary to estimate the margin of evolution of each of the participants because we are dealing with fairly young dancers who can therefore still progress. But I believe that all professionals have the eye sufficiently trained to identify what is in each.
I have one piece of advice and it is the one I have always given to each dancer; stay yourself! Don’t change, don’t try to imitate others. What matters is you and you alone!”