Boys (almost) scoop the scholarship pool at the 2013 Prix de Lausanne

The 2013 Prix de Lausanne might have set a record for the male/female ratio of dancers who reached the finals on February 2.

There were 20 finalists and of these, eight dancers won scholarships.

Of the 20 finalists, six were girls and of the scholarship winners, just one was a girl.

The number of selected candidates to compete were 41 girls and 40 boys.

We can’t put the boys’ success down to the Billy Elliot phenomenon any more. In competition, do boys impress the judges more or were the boys simply stronger this year?

For the 2013 Prix, there were nine judges, including the Queensland Ballet artistic director, Li Cunxin. Four of the nine were women.

More statistics: of the scholarship winners, two were from Brazil, two from China, and one each from Japan, Canada, Australia and Portugal.

The Australian scholarship winner, and also the winner of the Contemporary Dance Prize, was Joel Woellner who now trains at the Houston Ballet Ben Stevenson Academy.

He lists his previous teachers as the renowned Vicki Attard, a former principal of the Australian Ballet, who now teaches at Academy Ballet in Sydney and Ettingshausens Dynamic Arts in Kirrawee, New South Wales, where the dance teachers are Joanne Ansell, Bridget Croft and Kim Traynor.

Another scholarship winner, Yamamoto Masaya from Japan, now trains at the Australian Ballet School.

The only other Australian finalist was Alysha Martignago who trained with Classical Coaching by Janine McGrath. She previously trained with Queensland Dance Performance College and Sun Coast Performing Arts Centre. (The performing arts director of both the college and centre is Bonnita Anthony.)

The scholarship winners were Silva Adhonay from Brazil, Li Wentao from China, Yamamoto Masaya from Japan, Domingues Leticia from Brazil, Corrales Cesar from China, Joel Woellner from Australia, Sebastião Francisco from Portugal and Zhang Jinhao from China.


  1. Yvonne
    Posted February 3, 2013 at 11:07 am | Permalink

    Dominance of the boys this year… I wonder if it was an age thing. Ten of the fourteen boys in this year’s finals (and five of the scholarship winners) were from the 17–18 years group, and were noticeable for their superior strength and, in many cases, maturity of style compared to the younger candidates. Meanwhile, the majority of the girls in the final were from the 15–16 years group.

    Another possible factor: it felt like *every* girl was dancing the Swanilda variation, with the effect that they tended to blur. (Also, they uniformly revealed their inexperience as actors with the fleeting mime moment in this variation. It seemed to me that most treated it quite perfunctorily.) The boys, on the other hand, apart from the understandable popularity of Basilio’s variation, covered a much wider territory of repertoire – which helped them stand out from each other – and for the most part I felt they were making choices that suited them physically and dramatically. The audience favourite’s Harlequinade was a spot-on choice, for example.

  2. Yvonne
    Posted February 3, 2013 at 11:09 am | Permalink

    PS. I really enjoyed Joel Woellner’s Desde Otello variation. It was no surprise when he was announced as the contemporary prizewinner.

  3. Antony
    Posted February 7, 2013 at 3:59 am | Permalink

    As a former professional dancer I have followed the Prix de Lausanne for many years. Over all I thought the standard markedly lower than in previous competitions. Stand outs for over all promise for a career based on; current technical accomplishment against age, physical facility, stage presence, Looks (YES they do count!!) were Cesar Coralles, Leticia Domingues, and the Japanese boy who unfortunately slipped during his Basilio variation in the final.

    I agree with the previous post about the mime. Such a huge push and increase in technical virtuosity in the last 20 years and the complete opposite for stage craft and theatricality. I feel that the students cannot be blamed. Attending a recent full length three act ballet of the Australian Ballet recently I found technicians on stage but a complete lack of any three dimensional production values. No story told, just the physicality of the dance which, when I had gone to experience a theatrical night of entertainment…left me completely cold.

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Joel Woellner, photo © Gregory Batardon / © Prix de Lausanne

Joel Woellner, photo © Gregory Batardon / © Prix de Lausanne