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On the road to the Prix de Lausanne, part I

January 25, 2010

Guest writer: Shelly Power, associate director of Houston Ballet’s Ben Stevenson Academy

Well 6 am always comes early for me, but anticipating a trip to Lausanne, Switzerland where I will be judging for one (if not the) most prestigious student ballet competitions in the world, it’s natural that I did not sleep as well as I would have liked. I feel a great burden of responsibility, and I may be as nervous as our participating students!

Having students attend again this year is exciting for the Houston Ballet family as well as the community that has come to know our HBIIs! Having been to this competition the past 5 years has shown me the growth and opportunity available to each competitor as they meet like-minded talented dancers from around the world.  At last count, barring any injuries, Prix is expecting 35 girls and 42 boys for a total of 77 competitors, representing 22 nationalities. There are 2 boys and 2 girls from the United States.

I picked up our three smiling competitors–Emanuel, Liao and Aaron–at 7 am. By their side were Houston Ballet students Bea and Kumiko and as well as Aaron’s parents.  The normal apprehension when sending a child off across the world was apparent for the Sharratts but with technology at our fingertips, it has become easier. It is obvious however that they are very proud and excited for Aaron as well as Liao and Emanuel.

I remind you all that you can log on daily to prixdelausanne.org to see daily photos, updates, etc. The final performance will air online January 31st at 3 pm Switzerland time. I was so pleased last year that Sebastian Concha-Vinet’s parents could sit in their home in Chile and watch their son in the finals!

Sitting here in Newark awaiting our connection, Emanuel is checking his emails, Aaron is listening to ‘Forever Young’ by James Taylor (what’s up with that? I think I’m in a time warp) on his iPod, and Liao is coloring in her new “Up” coloring book. I guess kids will be kids.

We arrive in Geneva at 7 am Monday morning and will train to Lausanne, taxi to the apartment, and walk to check in at the theater. Once settled in, I plan to give a short barre to help the three dancers get over the plane ride and frankly to keep them awake! Dancing with jet lag is a challenge in and of itself, nevermind the excitement and stress a competition bestows.

Next check-in will be from Lausanne, Switzerland!

-Shelly

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