We are very happy to announce that Łukasz Bałoniak – a student of the R. Turczynowicz Ballet School in Warsaw – qualified for the prestigious International Ballet Competition “Prix de Lausanne”. The 48th edition of the competition will take place in February 2020 in Montreux, Switzerland.
The competition will be attended by 84 young dancers (51 girls and 33 boys) from all over the world. For two years no Polish surname has appeared in the competition line-up, so the fact that Bałoniak was chosen is even more pleasing. We should also highlight that the competition is an actual springboard of ballet careers – it was thanks to “Prix de Lausanne” that the world heard for the first time about such talents as Diana Vishneva or Christopher Wheeldon. The last candidate from Poland who participated in “Prix de Lausanne” and won the competition was Stanisław Węgrzyn. Participation in the “Prix de Lausanne” in 2017 brought Węgrzyn an internship in The Royal Ballet, after which he was engaged in the company as a permanent member.
- I am absolutely fascinated with the structure of this competition – says Łukasz Bałoniak, Polish candidate – In spite of the fact that the competition has already had so many editions, it continues to be very prestigious.
This prestige does not come out of the blue. The initial selection is very strict. Candidates from all over the world are selected on the basis of submitted recordings that must be prepared according to strict guidelines. After that, during the competition week in Switzerland, the participants prepare for their performances under the guidance of the most eminent pedagogues from all over the world.
– My preparations for the competition have already taken almost a year. I practiced ballet every day for two hours and this daily training, repeating the same exercises day after day at some point results in the fact that I can evolve as a dancer and I have a chance to take part in such a competition. I know that nothing but hard work will result in me getting in – says Bałoniak.
Further preparations for the competition do not differ much from the initial ones described by Bałoniak. There is only one exception. On the stage of Stravinsky Auditorium in Montreaux, young dancers will present two variations each – classical and contemporary. Łukasz Bałoniak has chosen the clairvoyant version of Prince Désiré from the third act of the Sleeping Beauty, which he is working on with Eduard Bablidze. As a contemporary variation, Bałoniak has chosen a fragment of Wayne McGregor’s Chroma and Nikola Zientarska supports him in his preparations. This is one of the most difficult contemporary ballet variations I have ever danced, says Bałoniak.
The competition is open for students aged 15-18 years, therefore the main prizes are scholarships to the best ballet schools in the world and paid internships in world renown companies. Let us not forget that the list from which the winners can choose are, among others: School of American Ballet in New York, Vaganowa Ballet Academy in St. Petersburg, Royal Ballet School in London or Paris Opera Ballet School in Paris, and among the partner teams of the competition we can find, among others, Béjart Ballet, English National Ballet, Nederlands Dans Theater II, Royal Ballet in London or Stuttgart Ballet.
The International Ballet Competition “Prix de Lausanne” will also grant a prize in the contemporary dance category – an intensive summer course in one of the partner schools, as well as an award for the best candidate from Switzerland and an audience award. Bałoniak, however, has no precise expectations of winning:
- What will happen to me there will be a real prize for me. I do not set any specific goal for myself, I do not aim to win. I will go there, see and everything will turn out. Although I am very scared, I think it will be a very interesting experience, because I have never participated in a competition of such an international rank. You know, it costs a lot of stress and nerves, but I think it will be fun.
We have already had the chance to admire the 18-year-old Łukasz Bałoniak in the TV competition Young Dancer of the Year 2019 (aired by the Polish TVP Kultura), in which he reached the final. Łukasz is also a laureate of many other competitions: in 2019 he won the third prize in the category of classical dance in the group of older boys in the Polish Wojciech Wiesiołłowski Dance Competition. He is also a winner of the 7th National Young Dancers Competition Meetings and a scholarship holder of the Knowledge – Culture – Aid Association (2016). He also received two awards for special achievements in classical dance technique at the National Young Dancers Competition Meetings (2014, 2016). In 2018 and 2019 he took part in the Youth Spirit of Dance project. He performed in Romeo and Juliet and Swan Lake at the Grand Theatre in Poznań and in Naïs at the National Philharmonic in Warsaw, and as a soloist in the ballet Nutcracker at the Grand Theatre in Poznań.