Delaware’s Chris Evans is one of five Americans set to compete in the Prix de Lausanne next month in Switzerland.
By BRET LIEBENDORFER
Columbus Local News
December 23, 2009
Dancer Christopher Evans knows all about the buses in Central Ohio. He’s up at 5 a.m. and catches the 6:30 DATA bus in Delaware. Then it’s a 15-minute wait at Crosswoods for a COTA bus to downtown Columbus, where he takes a 15-minute walk to BalletMet Academy.
Finally, he’s ready to learn dance — from 9:15 a.m. to 6 or 7 p.m., six days a week. “I don’t feel like I have a social life,” Evans said. “What makes up for it is when I’m on stage.”
From Jan. 26-31, Evans will take a new stage. The 15-year-old Delaware resident is one of only five Americans selected to compete in the Prix De Lausanne, an international competition in Switzerland that helps prepare 15- to 18-year-old dancers for a professional career.
“It’s the best of the best,” Evans said.
Dance became an integral part of his life at age 4 when he was inspired by a performance of The Nutcracker featuring Mikhail Baryshnikov. Evans said he was mesmerized by the famous dancer’s jumps and how natural he made it look.
“I said ‘Mom, I want to be like that guy,’” Evans said.
After calling several dance studios in Arizona, where the family lived at the time, Evans’ mother, Joanna Hatanaka, reached Mary Adams from Adams Ballet Academy in Tempe, Ariz., who was willing to take a chance teaching such a young boy how to dance.
“She took him under her wing and nurtured his love for dance,” Hatanaka said.
Five years ago, the family moved to Delaware; two years later, Evans began studying at BalletMet in Columbus. He’s now one of the youngest in the pre-professional program, which is so demanding it requires him to take online classes.
“We are very proud that Chris is one of two American male students going forward to compete against young dancers from all over the world,” said BalletMet Academy Director Susan Brooker, who will accompany Evans and his mother to Switzerland. “Although he is still young, his potential is evident.”
Evans describes his style as classical. “Some guys are big into jumps, which I can do, but I’m more into fluidity and expressing myself,” he said.
He said his success comes from being able to take correction, which is one of the factors judges evaluate at the Prix De Lausanne during classroom sessions. “If I get a correction from a teacher, I work my butt off to get it right,” he said.
His long-term goal is to return to Europe and dance for a professional company. “Dancing here is kind of dying, but there’s still fire in Europe,” he said.
To follow video blog updates of Evans at the Prix De Lausanne, visit the Web site prixdelausanne.org.
Copyright © 2009 ColumbusLocalNews.com