Skip navigation

Tag Archives: Prix de Lausanne

Leroy Mokgatle from South Africa performs his classical variation to win the audience prize as well as the 4th prize during the final of the 44th Prix de Lausanne (Valentin Flauraud, EPA) 2016


By Nkosana Maphendula
February 8, 2016.


A 16-year-old South African [SA] ballet dancer, Leroy Mokgatle, has won a scholarship at the Prix de Lausanne international ballet competition in Switzerland. “The first for SA in 28 years and the second in SA history,” Art of Motion, his dance school in Randburg, Johannesburg, said in a Facebook post. “Thank you to the world audience for voting our SA candidate as their audience choice.”

Leroy Mokgatle at the Prix de Lausanne Ballet Competition (Prix de Lausanne) 2016Mokgatle was given the “audience favourite” award following the finals held in Lausanne on Saturday and won a scholarship to further his studies at one of the 66 prestigious Prix de Lausanne partner schools or dance companies around the world.

The previous South African winner was Ann Wixley, who received a scholarship in 1988.

Mokgatle performed a classical and a contemporary dance at the event. According to Art of Motion, Mokgatle moved from to Johannesburg from Pretoria in 2013 to train with the company.

Last September, Mokgatle won a gold medal at the prestigious Genée International Ballet Competition.

Art of Motion expressed gratitude to the organisers of the Prix de Lausanne, saying it was an “extraordinary experience, one that will remain with us forever”.


Source: News 24


Read more about Leroy: Teen ballet sensation Leroy Mokgatle: ‘There is no plan B’


By Gramilano
February 17, 2015


Julian Mackay at the Bolshoi Theatre (Quinn Wharton)Seventeen-year-old Julian Mackay is one of the six winners of this year’s Prix de Lausanne. He is part of the extraordinary Khan-MacKay family which boasts four ballet dancers; something this blog has covered before.

Julian however is flying high during his last year at the Bolshoi Academy before his graduation in June, having already won medals last summer at the Sochi and Istan­bul, he was awarded the Kelvin Coe Scholarship from the En Avant Foundation, and around Christmas was dancing Siegfried for the Russian State Ballet on tour. However winning at Lausanne is special.

Read the entire article:


Copyright © 2015 · Gramilano





Read more about Nicholas and Julian:

Bozeman boys excel at Bolshoi Ballet Academy 11/24/14

Young American at the Bolshoi: Julian MacKay wins Sochi and Istanbul medals (external link)  7-13-14

Dancing with the Khan-MacKay family 12/31/13

US Mom proud of sons at the Bolshoi Academy  3/2012

David Hallberg with Julian and Nicholas MacKay     11/2011

Young American Dancers at the Bolshoi Theatre  10/2011

From Bozeman to Bolshoi to the big screen  6/2011

Montana dancer performs with Bolshoi   6/2011

What is it like to be an American at the Bolshoi Academy?   6/2011

12-year-old dancer aces first year at Bolshoi Ballet Academy   6/2010

Ask the Dancers: Young Americans in Russia Respond  6/2010

Young Americans Embrace Rigors of the Bolshoi  5/2010

Julian MacKay, 12, makes history with the Bolshoi   3/2010

Love of ballet brings Berlin’s best to Bozeman   3/2010

Young Dancer to Study at Bolshoi   10/2009


Harrison Lee, 15, back home in Castle Hill after winning the famed Prix de Lausanne (Steven Siewert) 2015


By Joel Meares
The Sydney Morning Herald
February 13, 2015

[Castle Hill, New South Wales, Australia] – At first, Harrison Lee thought he was in trouble. His mother had called him into her bedroom early in the morning, and he was “a little scared” – this was not the regular morning routine at their Castle Hill home. Then she gave him the news: “She sat me down on her bed and said, ‘Congratulations, you’re going to Switzerland!'”

It was the news the 15-year-old had been waiting more than a month to hear, ever since he sent a DVD of himself performing a variation from the ballet Flames of Paris to the judges of the Prix de Lausanne, among the world’s most prestigious competitions for young dancers. From 300 entrants, he was one of 70 invited to Lausanne, on the shores of Lake Geneva, for a week of classes and performances.

“When she told me I got in, happiness just took over my body,” says Lee. But he did not leap down the road, Billy Elliot-style, painting his delight for the world in pirouettes and arabesques. “I’m not one to scream and shout and go crazy,” he says calmly. “It just took over inside.”

Harrison Lee  performs his classical variation during the final of the 43rd Prix de Lausanne  ( Denis Balibouse, Reuters) 2015

Last week, after eight days of classes and major performances, Lee took top prize in Lausanne. He again showed trademark control when called forward from a line of finalists – some three and four years his senior. “I was shocked, and I was getting very emotional so I had to hold that in until it was over.” He adds with a laugh: “I didn’t want to watch this back five years later and see myself crying.”

The Lausanne win comes just shy of a year since Lee took out the equally prestigious Youth America Grand Prix: the one-two punch puts him among the most promising, and prized, young dancers in the world. Watching the YouTube video of Lee performing his classical variation at the Lausanne finals – a video that has clocked 37,000 views in less than a week – it is easy to see why. His control and strength astounds: he springs to impossible heights from the raked stage; his toes arch improbably towards his heel. One commenter writes under the video: “Good lord those feet are so good they should pay taxes!”



Brisbane’s Lucid Dance Theatre founder Louise Deleur was a choreographer at the Prix, and watched Harrison on stage and in classes, where the dancers are also scored. “He was blessed with these long legs and beautiful feet,” says Deleur, “but what also stood out about Harrison was his humility and graciousness in class. He’s a beautiful soul to work with.”

Lee spent a week in London before the competition taking classes at the Royal Ballet School. He did some sightseeing – Harry Potter World, even though he’s not a great fan of the boy wizard – but mostly it was business. It’s the same at home: he takes two hours of ballet every day at the McDonald College, and three more hours every day after school. His diet “is not as strict as the girls” but he watches what he eats. He points out, humbly, that teachers Josephine Jason, Jane Kesby and Allan Cross have sacrificed as much as he has for his success.

The goal, Lee says, is to become the principal dancer at a company so that “I can dance as many lead roles as I can”. He’s not being unrealistic. Following his successful 12 months, Lee now has his choice of schools: by September he will be living in New York and attending the American Ballet Theatre, or in London at the Royal Ballet, or anywhere else he chooses to attend in Europe. Recruiters are clamouring.

“It’s weird to think at 16 I will be on the other side of the world, living by myself and cooking and cleaning and washing up,” says Lee. “It’s scary, but it’s what I’ve been training for.”

For mother Cindy, a travel agent, the prospect of Harrison moving is bittersweet. The family delights in his success – his brother skipped schoolies to go to Switzerland and watch Harrison compete; Cindy gets giddy recalling how Li Cunxin (of Mao’s Last Dancer fame) told her he was looking forward to seeing her son dance.

“But it’s sad too to think of your child travelling so far away at such a young age,” she admits. “A lot of people probably don’t understand it – people who don’t have a child with a passion or dream and the talent don’t understand how you could see your child do that. We’re happy to see him reach his goals.”

And wherever Lee lands, mum will be visiting. A lot. “It will be a path well worn, I imagine,” she says.

Copyright © 2015 Fairfax Media


Related Articles:

Harrison Lee wins junior grand prix prize at YAGP

Young dancers win lead roles

Young dancer pursues his dream

Young dancer excels at Sydney Eisteddfod

Young dancer leaps to success

Castle Hill dancer sure has rhythm

Austen Acevedo and Gabriella Stilo will dance at the prestigious 2015 Prix de Lausanne
December 10, 2014


Austen Acevedo, 15, has been training with Orlando Ballet School since age 10, and he is the only United States junior male to place in the top three at YAGP 2014 in NYC (Wet Orange Studio)[Orlando, Florida, USA] – Talented Orlando Ballet School students Austen Acevedo and Gabriella Stilo have been selected to compete at the prestigious 2015 Prix de Lausanne from February 1-8, 2015, in Lausanne, Switzerland. Acevedo and Stilo received the coveted designation, and are two of the 67 students from among 300 worldwide applicants to be accepted to the competition. Prix De Lausanne is the most exclusive student ballet dance competition in the world.

Now 15, Acevedo has been training with Orlando Ballet School since age 10. He is the only United States junior male to place in the top three at YAGP 2014 in NYC. Acevedo has won the Junior Grand Prix at the YAGP Tampa regional semi-finals and the Bronze at World Ballet Competition 2014. He is an American Ballet Theatre Merit Scholar for 2013 and 2014. Acevedo has danced in several Orlando Ballet professional productions including Carmen and Vampire’s Ball. Acevedo is only one of seven American male dancers selected to compete at the 2015 Prix de Lausanne.

Gabriella Stilo, 15,  trains at the Orlando Ballet School (Luis Pons)Also 15, Stilo is originally from Tampa and relocated to Orlando in August 2014 specifically to train at Orlando Ballet School. Stilo has won the YAGP Grishko Model Search 2014, placed first in the pas de deux category at YAGP NY Finals 2014, won the Junior Grand at the YAGP Atlanta regional semi-finals and won the Junior American Dance Competition Grand Prize in 2013.

“We are extremely proud of Austen and Gabriella,” said Dierdre Miles Burger, director of the Orlando Ballet School. “Being selected to participate in the prestigious Prix De Lausanne is a tremendous honor. We look forward to them representing Orlando Ballet School, which provides the high caliber of training that has allowed these dancers to excel.”

Both Acevedo and Stilo are raising funds for their trip to Switzerland for the competition. If you’d like to support Acevedo on his journey to compete in Switzerland, please visit If you’d like to support Stilo on her journey to the 2015 Prix de Lausanne, please visit her site at

For more information on the 2015 Prix De Lausanne, please visit


© 2014 Cox Media Group


Related Article: Austin Acevedo – A promising prodigy of ballet

Tag Archives: Orlando Ballet School



By Max Gonzalez
The San Juan Daily Star
August 14, 2014


Austin Acevedo - A promising prodigy of ballet


Austen Acevedo – Orlando Ballet School
Paquita Male Variation – World Ballet 2014
Bronze Medal – Pre Professional Division


Prix de Lausanne

I am so excited to announce that I have qualified to compete in one of the most prestigious ballet competitions in the entire world, the Prix de Lausanne, in Switzerland.  Only 80 young dancers from around the globe are invited to compete.  I will proudly represent the United States of America as well as Puerto Rico!

There are many incredible benefits to being a competitor in this competition.  The potential scholarship opportunities would help me complete my ballet training in New York City or Europe.  This training is essential to my artistic and technical development, which will eventually allow me to become a professional ballet dancer!

In order to make this trip a reality I will need the help of family, friends and ballet lovers!  Your donations will assist my costs of travel, hotel stay, food, costumes, coaches travel expenses  and training needed to compete.  We are so very grateful for your donations.  Please know that no donation is too small!  You’re thoughts and support are just as important!

– Austen Acevedo




Tanner Bleck at the Prix de Lausanne (photo by Gregory Batardon) 2014

By Amanda Starling
The Tampa Bay Times
February 20, 2014

Tanner Bleck, 15, was one of 69 students in the world to compete in Lausanne, He placed in the top 20 (photo by Will Vragovic) 2014[Tampa Bay, Florida, USA] – Tanner Bleck takes a series of steps across the wood floor. Instructors with the Patel Conservatory bark at his ballet classmates, but he darts from one corner of the room to the other, jerking a stop for rapid tendus, stretching his left foot away from his right.

Tanner, 15, spent years of his childhood on wood floors, practicing balanced movements and leaps in front of mirrors. His feet have carried him from acting classes to small stages to the glowing lights of the David A. Straz Jr. Center for the Performing Arts.

For the Lexington, Ky., dancer, it’s a series of ballet steps that whisked him from his hometown to prestigious summer ballet intensives to the recently completed Prix de Lausanne, a prestigious international competition for ballet students between the ages of 15 and 19.

Tanner’s day typically involves seven or more hours of ballet study, from class to intensive individual study under the watchful eye of instructors. By 8 p.m., he is bent over textbooks, wrapping up his virtual high school courses.

He recalled being inspired by Steve from Blue’s Clues, who would bound back and forth, singing and dancing on his television screen. He found that dancing was where his heart was, as he learned from after-school classes, as his instructors pointed at his feet and his posture.

He had multiple offers for ballet study at age 13: Houston Ballet Company, Ballet West Coast, the National Ballet of Canada, and the Patel Conservatory at the Straz Center.

Tanner wanted to work with the conservatory’s Peter Stark, known for pushing his dancers to the next level — international. It was an instant connection.

“It takes a combination of innate physical ability and hard work and training,” Stark said. “(Students) have incredible strength and flexibility in their feet, but they have also worked hard to get where they are today.”

Tanner Bleck in NGB's The Nutcracker (photo by SoHo Images) 2013

To realize his dream in dance, Tanner traveled alone to Tampa at 13. He spent a year with instructor Susan Downey and her family. It was different, being away from his parents that long, but the Downey family felt warm and comfortable.

“I’ve been having to mature a lot faster than most people are because I had to move down here by myself,” Tanner said. “I was mostly focused on dance, schooling. If I was sick or injured, I didn’t really have anyone there.”

Lori Bleck recalled crying in the absence of her youngest son. It would be a strain on the family’s tight budget, but she would fly to Tampa every month. Her relatives lived in Land O’Lakes and provided her a place to stay while she visited Tanner. In time, she found work in the Tampa Bay area as a purchaser for a company.

“We’re a very close-knit family,” she said. “Everything we do is for the future of our children. Our whole life is for our children. If we can produce functioning, wonderful human beings that are good role models to others, that’s what it’s all about.”

Her husband, Russell, stayed behind in Lexington and maintained his job as a painting contractor. He traveled with Tanner to the Prix de Lausanne for support.  “I just kind of marvel at him,” Russell Bleck said. “It makes it easier knowing that he loves what he’s doing.”

Only 69 students in the world are selected for the Prix de Lausanne, 10 from the United States. Tanner was one of only three American boys offered the chance to study with the most talented instructors across the globe.

He placed in the top 20 dancers worldwide.

The anxiety he built up on a flight to Lausanne, Switzerland, faded as he entered classrooms and shook hands with talent scouts and instructors from the world’s most coveted ballet companies. The classes were different from the ballet instruction in the United States. In Europe, ballet focuses on classical technique.

“Some people couldn’t do as many turns or jump as high,” he said. “But technique-wise, everything was just so clean. They would just focus on every tiny detail.”

The Prix de Lausanne felt different from other competitions to him. His classmates at Patel were like family, but with a consistent competitive edge. In eight days, he bonded with teens his age, clapping and cheering for each contestant with sincerity. “They were so good that you were happy for everyone,” Tanner said. “I was really expecting something so different. All we could think was that there was not one kid here who doesn’t deserve it.”

Before the Prix, Tanner was offered a full scholarship from the Zurich Ballet for four years, which included college courses. By the end of the eight-day trip, he had scholarship offers from the San Francisco Ballet, the Stuttgart Ballet and the Hamburg Ballet.

His selection won’t be easy, but for now he’s just focusing on his passion. “I just love to be able to perform on stage,” he said. “The second I went on stage, I saw lights and thought, ‘This is fun. This is where I am.’ “

© 2014  Tampa Bay Times

Related Articles:

NGB students among elite dancers accepted to Prix de Lausanne

NGB’s Summer Fantasy features young talent

Young dancer’s goal is to fill the shoes of ‘Billy Elliot’

Jumping for joy, Haruo Niyama performs a contemporary variation at the 42th Prix de Lausanne (AP Photo) 2014

The Japan Times News
February 2, 2014

[Lausanne, Switzerland] – Japan’s Haruo Niyama won top prize Saturday in this year’s Prix de Lausanne, a prestigious competition for young ballet dancers.

Niyama, a 17-year-old from Matsumoto, Nagano Prefecture, is the first male Japanese dancer to snatch the top prize since 1989, when Tetsuya Kumakawa won the gold medal. Female dancer Madoka Sugai won the top prize in 2012.

Niyama Haruo of Japan, from Hakucho Ballet Academy, performs during classical selections of the 42th Prix de Lausanne (photo by  Alexander Roth-Grisard) 2014“I was surprised to hear my name read out. I was able to dance with joy and confidence,” he told reporters after the award ceremony. “I want to become a dancer who can impress an audience.”

Many jurors were impressed by Niyama’s powerful jumps as well as his potential, according to juror Christopher Powney.

Sae Maeda, 15, of Yokohama won the second prize while Mikio Kato, 18, from Tokyo, placed sixth. Each prize winner received a one-year scholarship to a top ballet school and 16,000 Swiss francs to cover living expenses at the contest, held in Lausanne, Switzerland.

A total of 73 dancers from 15 countries were selected from the initial 295 applicants for the contest. Of them, 20, including six Japanese, were selected for the final. Six of the 20 were given prizes.

Copyright 2014 The Japan Times LTD

Tanner Bleck, Next Generation Ballet, Patel Conservatory

Dream, Reach, Discover, Create
The Blog of the Patel Conservatory
January 25, 2014

[Tampa, Florida, USA] – Congratulations to Next Generation Ballet (NGB) New Artists Tanner Bleck and Olivia Gusti, who will compete in the world’s most prestigious dance competition, the Prix de Lausanne.

Approximately 60 dancers are selected from hundreds of entries worldwide.

Gusti and Bleck were two of only 10 from the United States to be accepted into the competition, which will be Jan. 26 through Feb. 1, 2014 in Lausanne, Switzerland. Bleck, 15, is one of only three American males accepted into the Prix de Lausanne.

The six-day event offers dancers scholarships to world renowned ballet schools.

Bleck moved to Tampa from Kentucky last year to train with NGB. He started ballet at age seven at Bluegrass Youth Ballet in Lexington, KY, and continued at Bluegrass School for the Creative and Performing Arts. Tanner has received scholarships and attended summer intensive programs at the Boston Ballet, Pittsburgh Ballet Theater, Jose Carreño Dance Festival and Next Generation Ballet. He recently placed second in the Classical Senior Men category and in the top 12 in the Contemporary Senior Men at the Youth America Grand Prix semi-finals in Tampa.

St. Petersburg native Gusti, 15, has been with the Patel Conservatory’s dance program for several years. She began dancing at age 6 with Ballet Pensacola before moving to the Tampa area and training at Florida West Ballet under the instruction of Povel Fomin. With NGB, she’s danced feature roles including Godmother in Cinderella and Dew Drop in The Nutcracker. She has also performed with the Moscow Ballet in St. Petersburg. Most recently, she won the Grand Prix award at the YAGP semi-finals in Tampa.

Former NGB dancers Hannah Bettes and William Dugan are now training abroad through opportunities at the Prix de Lausanne.

Best of luck to Bleck and Gusti as they embark on their journey!

%d bloggers like this: